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On July 22, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) called on Congress and the administration to act quickly on the recommendations released today by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (The 9/11 Commission). In an address from the Senate floor, Senator Clinton praised the Commission’s work as an act of “real patriotism.”

The Senator warned, however, that mere praise for the Commission is insufficient, insisting that it is far past time for the government to act. “There have been many other commissions led by distinguished Americans who have plowed the same ground, who have come forth with worthwhile and compelling recommendations and, frankly, have been ignored. We ignore this one at our peril.”

The Senator added that Congress, itself, has failed to move quickly on issues vital to the nation’s security. “Why aren’t we considering Homeland Security right now? Why have we done nearly everything but consider the appropriations for Homeland Security, consider the very good legislation offered on both sides of the aisle to try to have a better approach to everything from port security to providing our first responders with the resources they need, to disbursing federal funds based on threat and not treating it as the Commission rightly says, like some kind of revenue sharing?”

The Commission, in its report, argues that federal funding for emergency preparedness be based on risk and vulnerability, meaning New York City and Washington, D.C. should be at the top of the list of communities receiving funds. Senator Clinton is author of the Domestic Defense Fund Act of 2004, which would comply with the Commission’s recommendation.

Noting that Commission member and former Senator Bob Kerrey said he was hopeful but not optimistic that the government would act on the Commission’s recommendations, Senator Clinton said she hoped to prove him wrong. “We must take seriously the recommendations of these patriotic, hard-working thoughtful Commissioners. This report cannot be allowed to sit on a shelf somewhere.”

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