Washington - Recognizing that America will only be safer when the advice and counsel of the 9/11 Commission is fully-heeded, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced a bill that aims to fully implement all 41 recommendations made by the commission. The Menendez bill complements identical legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Christopher Shays (R) of Connecticut and Carolyn B. Maloney (D) of New York. In a letter, 9/11 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chair Lee Hamilton said the legislation represents a comprehensive approach to carry out each of the recommendations of the Commission, [and] focuses on urgent unfinished business before the Nation,
The 9/11 Commission Report was a call to action and their recent report card was a reminder of what still needs to be done, Menendez said. Their work cannot be left unfinished; we must all heed the advice of the 9/11 Commission. The Bush administration has been derelict in fully adopting and implementing the commissions recommendation, and the Congress has not held them accountable. We cannot wait any longer to take action.
The 9/11 Commissions report is a blueprint to make our nation safer, but Congress has let too much of it sit on the shelf and collect dust, said Maloney. We need to finish the tough work of strengthening and reorganizing what we started with the intelligence reform bill in 2004.
The 9/11 Public Discourse Project last year released a report card containing more Fs than As on the governments progress in fully implementing the 41 recommendations made in the 9/11 Commission Report. Recognizing that the full implementation of all 41 recommendations must remain a top priority of our government, Menendez is joining colleagues in the House in introducing the Ensuring Implementation of the 9/11 Commission Report Act. This legislation has been developed as a comprehensive approach to assure the implementation of all 9/11 Commission recommendations.
A key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission was that Homeland Security grants be allocated solely on the basis of risk. Recent news reports underscore how far off the Department of Homeland Security is from fully implementing the spirit and letter of that recommendation. A provision in the Menendez legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to award security grants strictly using a risk-based formula.
I think we were all shocked last week when the Department of Homeland Security actually slashed overall homeland security grant funding for New York, Washington DC, and New Jersey while increasing funding for much smaller areas with fewer terrorist targets, Menendez said. DHS slashed these funds despite the 9/11 Commission recommendation which said that Homeland Security assistance should be based strictly strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities.
A number of the 41 recommendations have been enacted into law, but several have not been fully implemented. To ensure implementation, the Menendez legislation contains a mechanism for executive branch agencies to report on their progress. Where recommendations have been enacted into law, this bill requires the relevant agency or agencies to certify they have completed the requirements of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevent Act of 2004 and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report.
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