Urging National Security & Intelligence Reform Legislation
NEW YORK, NY - Today, Congressmembers Christopher Shays (CT) and Carolyn Maloney (NY), Co-Founders of the 9/11 Commission Caucus, joined with family members of those lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center – September 11, 2001 – to urge Congress to stop stalling and act now and pass the “9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act.”
The event near Ground Zero in lower-Manhattan was the lead event of a multi-city series of vigils planned by 9/11 family members to urge Congress to reconvene before the end of the 108th session - on Monday, December 6th - and to protect America without any more delay by passing this crucial legislation. The series of vigils began today and will continue from noon to 1:00 p.m. every day, through Sunday, December 5, 2004, until Congress re-convenes and decides if it will vote on the legislation or instead, will miss the opportunity to make America safer. Simultaneous events took place in Boston, Massachusetts at the 9/11 Memorial in Boston Public Gardens, and in Sherman Oaks, California at the L.A. Fire Department’s Fire Station 88.
Congressman Shays said, “These vigils represent the solemn obligation Congress and the Administration have to all Americans -- not just those who lost their lives -- to make our country safer. I am truly grateful to the family members for their courage and strength, and to the Commission for its work. They have made reform a real possibility and now it is time for the White House and Congress to do the right thing.”
Congresswoman Maloney said, “We are here to talk about a vital and serious moment that our country and our government faces. Congress reconvenes on December 6 with what may be its last opportunity to enact strong intelligence reform that is three years overdue and that is true to the spirit of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. It would be incredible if we should we wake up on December 7 - which happens to be the anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor - with the reform dead, it will be extremely dangerous for America because we know another attack is coming and it won’t be a surprise.”
Beverly Eckert, a leader of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, said, “These vigils are to gather support from the American public, to keep the focus on this crucial legislation and on the fact that Congress is stalling. This bill has not passed and the work of the 9/11 Commission won’t be done until this bill is passed. This bill is being blocked because there may not be support from the majority of Republican conference in the House, but there is support from the majority of the entire House and they represent the people. If there is no vote on this bill, it suggests we do not even have a democracy.”
Mary Fetchet, also a leader of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, said, “The success of this crucial legislation rests on the shoulders of the President and the Speaker of the House. The time for compromise is over. The approved legislation should move to the floor for a vote.”
Carol Ashley, also a leader of the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, said, “I would like to urge Speaker Hastert to bring this crucial legislation to the floor for a vote and let democracy actually work. We are holding these vigils to emphasize the importance of this legislation and to make the American people aware that it is stalled and it needs to be passed now.”
The 9/11 Commission identified the problems that contributed to the federal government's failure to protect the country on 9/11. Yet Congress is stalling on enacting a law based on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations for correcting those problems. Excuses are many, but only one solution is acceptable: passage of this legislation in this Congress. President Bush and Speaker Hastert must act NOW to turn these recommendations into legislation.