Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon expressing her support for the joint House-Senate conference report on H.R.1, implementing recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The conference report passed, 371-40.
“Today, we will pass the final version of this bipartisan bill. We will send it to the President for the signature which we expect that he will apply to it. And when we do, we will have done in 6 months what previous Congresses failed to do in nearly 6 years. We could not have accomplished this without the courage and determination of those whose loved ones were lost on September 11. The families of 9/11 turned their grief into strength and advocacy, and that made America safer. Implementing the recommendations will fundamentally change the way the President and the Congress deal with matters related to terrorism — making us more unified and more effective.”
Read Speaker Pelosi’s full speech:
“I rise today in strong support of this legislation to make the bipartisan and independent 9/11 Commission recommendations into law. With this bill, we will be keeping our promises to the families of 9/11, we will be honoring the work of the 9/11 Commission, and we will be making the American people safer.
“I salute the steadfast leadership of so many of our colleagues, Chairman Bennie Thompson and the distinguished ranking member, Peter King. I also want to acknowledge Chairmen Lantos, Dingell, Conyers, Oberstar, Skelton, Markey, and Nadler, who played important roles in the conference report on this.
“Three years ago this week, the bipartisan and independent 9/11 Commission released its report, outlining urgent and achievable recommendations for securing our nation.
“Under the outstanding leadership of Chairman Tom Kean and Vice Chair Lee Hamilton, the 9/11 Commission presented a roadmap to protect the American people from terrorism.
“In assuming power, Democrats promised a New Direction for America and nowhere was that New Direction more critical than in ensuring the safety of the American people. That is why when the very first day of the new Congress, our first legislative act was to pass House Resolution 1, implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations. It was our highest priority to make the American people safer and we passed it on the first day in our first legislative act.
“Today, we will pass the final version of this bipartisan bill. We will send it to the President for the signature which we expect that he will apply to it. And when we do, we will have done in 6 months what previous Congresses failed to do in nearly 6 years.
“We could not have accomplished this without the courage and determination of those whose loved ones were lost on September 11. The families of 9/11 turned their grief into strength and advocacy, and that made America safer.
“Implementing the recommendations will fundamentally change the way the President and the Congress deal with matters related to terrorism — making us more unified and more effective.
“That is because this bill closes loopholes and weaknesses that terrorists seek to exploit and that leave Americans vulnerable.
“I know others have addressed these, but I want to highlight some of the important parts of it that make America safer.
“Federal funding for homeland security will now be focused on those parts of the country that are at greatest risk.
“By securing loose nuclear material abroad, this bill will help prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
“Our bill requires that 100 percent of shipping containers be scanned and sealed abroad, before they ever reach our shores, and move through our waterways and across our country. Mr. Nadler, thank you for your exceptional leadership, your persistence on this matter. 9/11 occurred in your district — you have been a relentless advocate for safety, not only in your district, but for all Americans.
“It also requires the screening of 100 percent of cargo on our passenger aircraft, a provision, again, relentlessly pursued by Congressman Ed Markey. We know that lives were lost on 9/11 because our first responders were unable to communicate with each other in real time. This bill makes a $1.6 billion investment in the equipment for our firefighters, police, and other emergency personnel. The equipment they need to communicate with each other more effectively to protect us, and for them to protect each other.
“These are just but a few of the provisions of the bill others have referenced — there is a more extensive list and all of them are very important.
“Mr. Speaker, as we learned in the National Intelligence Estimate released last week, the threat of terrorist violence against the United States is growing. Al Qaeda is gaining strength, and Osama bin Laden continues to elude capture. There is not a moment to spare to take the steps necessary to keep the American people safe.
“With this bill, we are honoring our solemn responsibility to protect and defend the American people. We take that as our oath of office, to protect the Constitution and in the Preamble, to provide for the common defense as a major charge to us.
“I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and the President to sign it. And I thank my colleagues again, Mr. Thompson and Mr. King, for bringing this legislation to the floor.”