This week Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivered the Democratic radio response to President Bush’s weekly radio address. Pelosi used her remarks to talk about the recent congressional passage of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. “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”, she said.

She also said that the Democratic congress did in six months what the Republican congress failed to do in six years. “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 nation’s 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.”

Pelosi explained what these recommendations do. “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.”

She then talked about the investment this bill makes in improving technology for first responders. “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.” She also mentioned the recent NIE and why this bill had to be passed quickly. “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.” She concluded by urging President Bush to sign the bill.

It appears to me that this radio address was designed to bolster the low public approval ratings of Congress as an institution. Pelosi seemed to be saying, “Look at us. We can get things done.” The GOP is in such bad shape right now, that I don’t think the Democrats are in any danger of losing their majority next year. It is almost criminal though that these recommendations weren’t implemented years ago. America will have more safety measures in place if the bill is signed, but I don’t like it when people play politics with 9/11. Republicans do it all the time, but the Democrats are capable too. It seems like the political message here is that Democrats can protect America better than the Republicans, but what I really wish is that both sides would stop talking about it, and just work together to get the job done.
 
Full text of Pelosi’s address 

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
 

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