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9/11 Blue-Ribbon Panel Proposal Passes House

U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer
Third Congressional District, Indiana
2352 Rayburn Building
Washington,D.C. 20515

CONTACT: Rusty Silverstein
July 25, 2002 107-202

Roemer Amendment Receives Broad Bipartisan Support

Washington - Late last night, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to approve a proposal introduced by U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN) to establish an independent, blue-ribbon commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the September 11 attacks. By a vote of 219 to 188, the House approved the measure as an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Bill.

"Last night, the House of Representatives voted to take the first step toward restoring accountability and the American people's faith in our nation's ability to protect its citizens," said Roemer. "Support for an expert, independent investigation into the September 11 attacks expresses a strong vote of confidence in the American government's ability to fully understand what happened and make needed reforms."

The Roemer amendment, supported by 193 Democratic, 1 Independent, and 25 Republican members, calls for an investigation by a panel of independent experts in counter-terrorism and homeland security issues into the activities of the intelligence agencies prior to the September 11 attacks. In addition, a secondary amendment offered by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) to the Roemer amendment last night would require the inclusion of family members of victims of September 11 on the commission.

The Roemer amendment was strongly supported by a coalition of these family members representing 1,200 people in 40 states.

"Over recent months, the families of those lost on September 11 channeled their grief into active and principled support for this appropriate and necessary step to ensure that others will not have to suffer as they have," continued Roemer. "Their support was crucial in convincing the Congress to live up to its historic responsibility and support a blue-ribbon 9/11 commission."

The blue-ribbon panel will report its findings with recommendations for needed reforms to Congress and the President. Roemer expressed his hope that the scope of the commission's inquiry would eventually be expanded to include the many other government agencies responsible for defending the nation against terrorism.

"On September 11, the snakes slithered through the cracks in our intelligence, immigration, border control, aviation security, and law enforcement agencies and succeeded in their deadly mission," said Roemer. "To seal those cracks, we need a comprehensive investigation into all aspects of our government responsible for protecting Americans."

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