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Biden Bill Targets Terrorists

Location: Washington, DC

Biden Bill Targets Terrorists

At a press conference in Washington today, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, unveiled a comprehensive, four-pronged approach that will enable the United States to more effectively prevent and root out international terrorism.

Biden's bill, the first bill he has introduced in the 109th congressional session, seeks to beef up U.S. efforts to tracks down terrorist cells, dry up their financial networks, and take away their ability to obtain nuclear weapons.

"Since 9/11 we have confronted the threat of international terrorism, but there is much more we can and should do," said Senator Biden. "The 9/11 Commission reported we are safer, but we are not yet safe. This is not just a military struggle against a new enemy, but a test of our resolve as a nation as well as a test of our military, diplomatic, and intelligence agencies and expertise. At its core it is a struggle for the hearts and minds of millions around the world who are open to America's ideas and ideals and we will have to do much more to reach them."

The bill aims to deal with the threat of terrorism on several fronts simultaneously: military; intelligence; diplomatic and homeland security, and has an accountability measure to ensure the broad range of our anti-terrorism efforts are effective. A breakdown of the bill's provisions follows:

Military/Intelligence Efforts:

• Increases the U.S. Special Forces capability by 2,000 personnel over the next several years in an effort to enhance our ability to track down and eliminate international terrorist cells;

• Replenishes the National Security Education Program to help address shortfall of trained foreign language experts in the U.S. government, thereby ensuring that our troops and security personnel receive timely information;

• Prescribes a more reasonable and clear policy regarding the treatment of detainees, prohibiting the torture of detainees, and creates a national commission to review U.S. policies relating to detainee treatment.

Drying Up Breeding Grounds that Produce Terrorism

• Expands funding for basic education and democracy promotion overseas and establishes a "Middle East Foundation" located in the region designed to be the center for research and scholarship of democracy, civil society and rule of law;

• Increases assistance to accelerate progress in Afghanistan by offering $2.4 billion in economic assistance;

• Provides $800 million in assistance to Pakistan, but requires that funds go to entities that support U.S. efforts to halt proliferation.

• Seeks a strategy report on counter-terrorism cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

Homeland Security

• Bolsters border and port security by adding 1,200 Immigration and Customs agents over a five year period;

• Authorizes $3 billion over four years to ensure that maritime security standards are met and increases funds available for port security grants.

• Creates a new, $5 billion Homeland Security grant program to which cities and counties across the U.S. can apply to directly for first responders, including equipment and training.

• Reauthorizes Senator Biden's COPS bill and restores the funding for local law enforcement agencies that was dramatically cut by the Bush Administration.

Reduce the Possibility of Terrorists Acquiring Nuclear Weapons

• Re-establishes the Nuclear Cities Initiative in Russia, assisting the Russian government in its efforts to close down or downsize several of its nuclear weapons facilities. Also expands funding to accelerate non-proliferation programs throughout the former Soviet Union.

"We have to be smart when we it comes protecting our nation from terrorist attacks," said Senator Biden. "We have to do all we can to drain the swamp and ensure that terrorism no longer has a breeding ground. It will take more than American military might. It will take a comprehensive national and international effort at every level; and it will take the collective strength of a nation united in its resolve to succeed."

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