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Intel Reform: House and Senate Conferees Meet for the First Time, Reps. Shays and Maloney Urge Swift Action

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Location: Washington, DC


Intel Reform: House and Senate Conferees Meet for the First Time, Reps. Shays and Maloney Urge Swift Action

Shays, Maloney, 9 other Members send letter to conferees

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, House and Senate conferees meet for the first time to work on reconciling differences between H.R. 10 and S. 2845, each respective chamber's version of a bill to implement the 9-11 Commission's recommendations. On Friday, October 15, Governor Kean and Representative Hamilton, the former chairmen of the commission, stated that they believe "the time is now to complete action on legislation to implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission."

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), sponsors of the bipartisan Collins-Lieberman and McCain-Lieberman bills in the House (H.R. 5150 and H.R. 5040), share the commissioners' concern that the momentum for reform will be lost after the election. While they are grateful that the White House sent a letter yesterday to the chairs of the conference committee, Senator Susan Collins and Representative Peter Hoekstra, encouraging conferees to produce a bill "as soon as possible," Shays and Maloney believe it is imperative that the President continues to express support for an expeditious conference.

Congresswoman Maloney and Congressman Shays today led a bipartisan group of 11 Members of Congress in sending the attached letter to all conferees urging them to work together to get a strong intelligence reform bill to the President's desk before the election. In their letter, they stated:

"We are grateful to Commission Chairman Kean for weighing in last week, when he strongly urged the White House to push for a completed bill in the next two weeks. We completely agree with him that this is a pivotal moment, because public pressure to pass meaningful intelligence reform will lose momentum after the election.

"We have a golden and long-overdue opportunity to improve our nation's security, and we must not let it slip by. The process in Washington is stalled, but terrorists plot. Our government warns of an imminent terror threat. Shouldn't we move heaven and earth to upgrade our national security as soon as possible? There is no good reason why we can't come back before election day and get this job done."

TEXT OF LETTER TO CONFEREES:

October 20, 2004

Dear Conferee:

We are writing to urge you to get a strong intelligence reform bill to the President's desk before Election Day.

It has been over a week since the House and Senate passed divergent versions of intelligence reform, and we are concerned that the conference committee has yet to even meet. We understand that the conference is scheduled to
commence today, and we hope that will trigger intense, substantive and rapid discussions that will generate a resolution before November 2.

Many, including 9/11 family members, are concerned that elected officials in Washington are merely stalling until after the election.

We are grateful to Commission Chairman Kean for weighing in last week, when he strongly urged the White House to push for a completed bill in the next two weeks. We completely agree with him that this is a pivotal moment, because public pressure to pass meaningful intelligence reform will lose momentum after the election.

We have a golden and long-overdue opportunity to improve our nation's security, and we must not let it slip by. The process in Washington is stalled, but terrorists plot. Our government warns of an imminent terror threat. Shouldn't we move heaven and earth to upgrade our national security as soon as possible? There is not good reason why we can't come back before election day and get this job done.

We are grateful for Speaker Hastert's commitment to our constituents and other family members to put a bill on the President's desk by Election Day. As Members of Congress who lost hundreds of constituents on 9/11 and as Americans deeply concerned about our national security, we respectfully submit there is no more time to lose. This country has waited three long years since 9/11 for a security upgrade. It is not that the clock is ticking; the clock already ran out on 9/11.

Sincerely,

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Rob Simmons (R-CT), Joe Hoeffel (D-PA), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Diane Watson (D-CA), Michael Castle (R-DE), Karen McCarthy (D-MO), Steve Rothman (D-NJ).

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