Good morning. This is Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Three years ago this week, the bipartisan and independent 9/11 Commission released its report, outlining urgent and achievable recommendations for securing our nation. This was done under the outstanding leadership of Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chair Lee Hamilton.
In assuming power, Democrats promised a New Direction for America. Nowhere was this more critical than in ensuring the safety of the American people. That is why on the very first day of the new Congress, our first legislative act was to pass House Resolution 1, the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
I am proud to say that this week, under Democratic leadership, the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, have passed the final version of this bipartisan bill. We are sending it to the President for his signature with all expectations that he will sign it.
We will have done in six months what previous Congresses failed to do for almost six years.
We could not have accomplished this without the courage and determination of those who lost loved ones on September 11. The families of 9/11 turned their grief into strength, and our entire nation is safer for it.
In the coming days, as the 9/11 Commission recommendations become our nations law, we are keeping our promise to those families, we are honoring the work of the Commission, and we are making the American people more secure.
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.
Under this legislation, federal funding for homeland security will now be focused on the parts of our 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.
It also requires screening of 100 percent of cargo on passenger aircraft.
We know that lives were lost on 9/11 because our first responders were unable to communicate with each other. This bill makes a $1.6 billion investment in the equipment our firefighters, police, and other emergency personnel need to protect us and each other every day.
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 legislation, we are honoring our solemn responsibility to protect and defend the American people.
We urge the President to promptly sign this bill into law.
This is the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Thank you for listening.