Sens. Biden and Carper Praise Final Passage of 9-11 Security Bill
Two Delaware Senators Urge Bush To Quickly Sign This Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Delaware’s two U.S. senators last Thursday night voted for the 9-11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, after both recently served on the bipartisan congressional committee that finalized the legislation to better secure America against terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Sen. Tom Carper, a key member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, helped resolve the differences between the Senate and House versions to best implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission to make states, cities and transportation safer.
“It is long past time that we changed course in securing our homeland,” said Senator Biden. “When the 9-11 Commission first issued their report card two years ago, they revealed the many gaping holes in our nation’s homeland security. It’s completely unacceptable and unfathomable that the necessary changes have not yet been made. Today’s legislation will help fill those gaps and make our country – our ports, skies, borders and railways – safer and more secure. I thank my colleagues for passing this important legislation, and I hope the President will reconsider his veto threat.”
“Once this bill is signed into law, the ships coming into the Port of Wilmington will be more thoroughly checked for security risks, the trains that come through our state will be safer to ride, and all Delawareans can feel safer when they get on a plane,” Sen. Carper said. “High-risk urban areas and states like Delaware will be better prepared to respond to man-made and natural disasters.”
The final legislation included much of what Sens. Biden and Carper promoted in the Senate version (S. 4) to improve rail security, increase homeland security grants to states and localities, improve information sharing among all levels of government, restrict terrorists’ entry into the United States, and to fund a new system enabling first-time responders to better communicate during a terrorist attack or natural disaster. It upgrades rail security, including provisions of Sen. Biden’s Rail Security Acts, which authorize funding to increase Amtrak security, by hiring officers and upgrading tunnels.
The 9-11 legislation also:
- Requires 100 percent scanning, within five years, of maritime cargo in foreign ports before it is loaded on ships bound for the United States.
- Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to screen, within three years, all cargo carried on passenger airplanes.
- Improves information sharing among local, state and federal officials by establishing grants to improve their “interoperability.”
- Takes steps to route rail shipments of the most dangerous chemicals along the safest routes.
- Strengthens reporting of lost and stolen passports.
- Requires countries share information about visitors posing threats.