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Public Statements

Mail Safety

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REID. Mr. President, we deal with a lot of controversial things. That is the way it has always been here. We deal with controversial issues that elicit passionate responses, including the immigration proposal I just outlined and the antiviolence legislation I talked about earlier. We try to deal with these issues thoughtfully and with respect. Those who serve and work in the Senate do so out of a sense of patriotism and a love of country.

I disagree with a number of my Republican Senators. Jeff Sessions and I--I do not think we have ever voted on anything the same way, but I have tremendous respect for him as a person. He does what he believes is right. His colleague from Alabama, Richard Shelby, is one of my dear friends. He and I do not vote much alike, but our relationship is one of respect and admiration for each other. That is what we have to do in this body.

I never question the patriotism or love of country of any Senator because if I did, I would be wrong. So it was deeply disturbing that an anonymous individual would attempt to send deadly poison to Senate offices as well as the White House. It appears that with the swift action of the Capitol Police and Federal law enforcement officials, the suspect in these cowardly, anonymous attacks has been apprehended. I hope he will be brought to justice very soon.

We should all understand that incident does not appear in any way to be related to the tragedy in Boston. Nevertheless, it is a reminder to the Senate community and to all Americans to remain vigilant during these unsettling times. It is also a reminder that Senate offices should continue to follow the mail policies that are in place for their safety in this investigation.

Fortunately, the system in place to protect the Senate community worked. Maybe people say: Well, it is not good enough. It is good. I remember what happened when we had anthrax with Senator Daschle and Senator Leahy in previous years. So the system that is in place to protect the Senate community has worked. That is good. These suspicious letters were found and intercepted before they reached the Capitol.

I applaud the postal employees and law enforcement officials who detected and neutralized this threat. I commend the Senate Sergeant at Arms, Chief Gainer, and the Capitol Police for their diligent work to keep the Senate community safe. I rest easier knowing the safety of everyone who works and visits the Capitol is their first priority. I know that to be the case.

I apologize to my friend the Republican leader for talking longer than I usually do.


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