9/11 Caucus Members, 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Families Unite in Call for Up or Down Vote on Bipartisan Legislation to Implement 9/11 Commission Recommendations
WASHINGTON, DC - Members of the Bipartisan 9/11 Commission Caucus, the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 Family Steering Committee joined together again today to call for a rule allowing amendments to H.R. 10.
Representatives Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-chairs of the 9/11 Caucus, have introduced H.R. 5150, the House version of the Collins-Lieberman bill, which has been endorsed by the White House, the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 Family Steering Committee.
The group is also submitting a resolution with proposals for reorganization currently being considered by the Senate. These proposals are consistent with the Commission's recommendations.
A bipartisan group of 21 House members wrote House leadership today, reiterating their strong support for swift consideration of clean, bipartisan legislation to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.
"After five Committees marked up portions of H.R. 10 yesterday, each rejecting amendments to bring the bill closer to Senators Collins' and Lieberman's bill on points of order, we will now approach the Rules Committee, asking for an open rule to allow amendments to H.R. 10," Shays and Maloney said. "We are concerned that the House bill, as it currently stands, will send H.R. 10 to a divisive conference and ultimately to its demise."
"In addition, if re-elected, we cannot support House Rules which do not enact a sweeping reorganization of Congress," Shays and Maloney continued.
"The Commission did its job, putting aside partisan, political leanings for nearly two years to come up with their groundbreaking recommendations," Shays said. "It is now the solemn duty of the House to put aside any political considerations and allow an up or down vote on a clean bill which puts the Commission's recommendations into legislative action. Anything less is a disservice to our country and disrespect for those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001."
"The political distraction and divisive misdirection posed by extraneous provisions in the intelligence bill threaten to scuttle the entire prospect of real reform," said Maloney. "We are urging House leaders and the Rules Committee to put the commission-endorsed legislation up for a vote, as they have done in the Senate. If we can get it the House floor for Members to say yes or no, I am confident we can get the Commission's recommendations to the President's desk."
"Neither the House nor the Senate can tell their constituents that they improved our nation's security unless they produce a bill approved by both Houses and signed by the President," said Carol Ashley, a member of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee.
Carie Lemack, also a member of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee added, "Safety is not a partisan issue - Congress must follow the example of the 9/11 Commission and work together to pass a bill enacting all 41 of its recommendations."
TEXT OF LETTER:
September 28, 2004
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert,
U.S. House of Representatives
H232 the Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi,
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Speaker, Dear Madam Leader:
We are writing to reiterate our strong support for swift consideration by the House of bipartisan legislation to implement the 9-11 Commission's recommendations.
After 20 months of deliberations, the independent 9-11 Commission published 41 recommendations to help prevent future terrorist attacks on July 22 -- nearly 9 weeks ago. We believe it is imperative the Commission's recommendations be implemented without further delay. We also believe this can only be achieved through a bipartisan, bicameral approach.
On Friday, September 24, Congressman Shays and Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 5150, the House version of the Collins/Lieberman bill. This bill has been endorsed by the 9-11 Commission as well as victims' family members.
While we support many of the provisions of H.R. 10 as drafted, we are concerned approving a bill not endorsed by the Commission and not substantially similar to Collins/Lieberman will simply doom this crucial legislation to a protracted and partisan conference and leave the American people at risk. It also seems to us the House could approve in separate legislation the additional provisions contained in H.R. 10.
While we are aware other bills to reform the intelligence community and enhance homeland security may have their merits, we believe a clean, bipartisan bill focused exclusively on implementing the commission's recommendations will most expeditiously improve the security of our nation and her citizens.
We respectfully urge you to allow a rule enabling our bipartisan group to offer a substitute substantially similar to the most current version of Collins/Lieberman as a substitute to H.R. 10 when this legislation reaches the House floor for a vote.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Michael N. Castle
Major R. Owens
Edward J. Markey