Department of Homeland Defense Hearings Start Today

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Carper will have the chance to question Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge about efforts to protect the country from terrorist attack and about the creation of a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security during the Senate Government Affairs Committee hearing tomorrow. “The threat against our nation is real and the need for action is certain. Real homeland defense requires better coordination between agencies and real accountability for those charged with our protection,” said Carper. “Tom Ridge’s close relationship with the President and the respect of his former colleagues gives him influence to help move this process along that his eventual successor may not have. Elevating the Homeland Security Director to the cabinet level grants some actual authority.” As a member of the Government Affairs Committee, Carper recently voted in favor of Chairman Joe Lieberman’s bill to raise Homeland Defense to a Cabinet-level position. While the House of Representatives is considering creating a special committee to hear the bill, the Senate Government Affairs committee will debate the President’s proposal. WHO: Homeland Defense Director Tom Ridge; Former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman; Members of the Senate Government Affairs Committee WHAT: Senate Hearing on Creating Department of Homeland Defense WHERE: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC WHEN: Thursday, June 20, 2002, 9:30am