Nadler: GOP Favors Partisan Election Year Politics Over Homeland Security

Oct 7, 2004

Washington, DC -- Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today criticized the House Republican Leadership for opposing legislation endorsed by the 9/11 Commission that implements its recommendations, and for instead forcing a vote on a politically motivated bill that undermines our civil liberties and includes extraneous provisions that the 9/11 Commission opposes. Nadler's floor statement on the Republican legislation, H.R. 10, follows:

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation. This bill is not the 9/11 Commission Recommendations. This bill is John Ashcroft's wish list.

Ground Zero is in my district. I understand the grave danger and harsh reality of terrorism. It is absolutely imperative that we implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, and strengthen our security and win the war on terrorism. Unfortunately, House Republicans would rather play partisan political games on the eve of an election.

The 9/11 Commission recommended that homeland security grants be distributed based on risk. But this bill contains a political pork barrel funding formula that directs funds away from key targets like New York and Washington D.C.

The 9/11 Commission recommended that we strengthen counter proliferation efforts to prevent Al Qaeda from getting nuclear weapons. This bill ignores that recommendation, and does little to prevent the terrorists from exploding atomic bombs in our cities.

This bill even fails to establish a strong, independent National Intelligence Director, by not providing that office with sufficient authority over the budget and personnel of other intelligence agencies.

House Republicans are once again wrapping themselves in the flag and 9/11 to hide the fact that they are loading up this bill with questionable provisions that will not make us safer, but will undermine our civil liberties. For example, this bill would permit people to be deported to countries that engage in torture. This will not stop terrorists from entering the United States. It would not have stopped the 9/11 terrorists. If we do have suspected terrorists, we should not deport them, we should charge them, interrogate them, and convict them.

This bill also includes egregious provisions that expand the secret surveillance powers of the federal government, and relax grand jury secrecy requirements, while depriving people of their constitutionally protected right to due process and to the writ of habeas corpus. It would give the federal government new authority to revoke visas, and deny asylum without judicial review.

This legislation is a betrayal of the families and the hard and thorough work of the 9/11 Commission. Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton have asked House Republicans to remove extraneous provisions and pass a clean bill. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Miami Herald, to name a few, call this bill a "political sideshow" and "election-year posturing." They see this bill for what it is -- a step in the wrong direction that in many cases does the opposite of what the 9/11 Commission recommended.

The Republicans must stop playing politics with the war on terrorism and start protecting the American People. As those of us from New York know all too well, we must do everything we can to prevent another September 11th. I urge my colleagues to defeat this legislation, and pass a bill that will actually make us safer.