Mr. KING (R. NY) [House Homeland Security Committee chair]: ...At the outset before we begin this debate, which will be a very positive debate, let me express my thanks to the ranking member, Mr. Thompson, for the tremendous cooperation he has given throughout deliberations on this bill, and also to the ranking member, Ms. Loretta Sanchez, and to Ms. Harman for working so closely with all the Members, especially Chairman Dan Lungren who is the prime sponsor of this legislation...
Madam Chairman, on September 11 all of us pledged that we would do all we could to prevent another terrorist attack from occurring in this country. One of the areas where we are most vulnerable is our ports. There are 11 million containers that come into our ports every year from foreign countries. Much progress has been made since September 11 in protecting our ports and improving the inspection process, the screening process, the scanning process; but the reality is that more has to be done.
I strongly believe that the SAFE Ports Act is a major step in the direction of giving us that level of protection that we need. For instance, it provides $400 million a year in risk-based funding for a dedicated port security grant program.
It mandates the deployment of radiation portal monitors which will cover 98 percent of the containers entering our country and then going out into the country.
It mandates implementation of the TWIC identity cards, and it sets up port training between the employees at the ports and first responders. It also requires more cargo data to be given to improve our automated targeting system.
And as far as the Container Security Initiative, CSI, it mandates that the Secretary of Homeland Security will not allow any container to be loaded onto a ship overseas unless that container is inspected at our request. In the past, we have had a number of countries that refused to make these inspections. There have been 1,000 containers that have entered this country unexamined, uninspected because the overseas ports would not carry out the inspection. In the future, that will not be allowed to happen.
Also, we require DHS to continually evaluate emerging radioactive detection and imaging technology. We also increase the number of inspectors by 1,200. All of these are part of the layered response and the layered system of defense that we need to significantly and dramatically upgrade the level of protection in our ports.
This is a bill which I believe warrants the support of the entire House. It passed out of the subcommittee unanimously, and it passed out of the full committee by a vote of 29-0, and I will be urging its adoption today...
Ms. HARMAN (D. CA [Southbay])...I am the co-author of this bill with Mr. Lungren. It is a bipartisan product through and through. In fact, it is a bicameral, bipartisan product. Many of the ideas came from the House and many of the ideas came from the other body.
One of its grandparents no longer serves here, Representative Doug Ose, who contributed the notion that we should dedicate a portion of Customs revenues to fund multi-year port security improvements. The reason he felt this way, and I surely agree, is that Customs revenues, or most of them, are collected at our ports. Should our ports close, our ability to collect those revenues ends. So I thought his was an inspired idea.
I co-sponsored the Ose bill some years back. It became an integral part of this bill, as did Ms. SANCHEZ's ideas, as did Mr. Lungren's, and as did some of the ideas of Senators SUSAN COLLINS and PATTY MURRAY, who are the coauthors of the GreenLane bill in the Senate.
Their bill is moving. Our bill is moving. Within months, just maybe we will accomplish what I would call a legislative miracle in this session of Congress which has only met 27 days since the beginning of the year. We have had 125 days or so of this year, but only 27 days of legislative business on the floor of Congress. And this, I would proclaim, is the best day, by a lot, that we have had...
The ports of L.A. and Long Beach, where my district is, handle over 14 million 20-foot containers annually, representing almost half of the Nation's total. That port complex is the fifth busiest in the world, the first in the Nation. In addition to containers, the complex handles over 1 million cruise passengers, half a million autos and over 50 percent of California's oil each year.
At a time of incredibly rising oil and gas prices, let us understand that Southern California will run out of oil in 2 weeks if those ports close. One out of 24 jobs in southern California relates to the ports.
So, Madam Chairman, the two most important things about this legislation are that it outlines a layered strategy for port security and that it creates dedicated, multi-year funding for port security projects.
...Let's just look at Katrina. This speaks to an issue all of us worry about. We didn't have a plan before. We didn't respond during, and we are still struggling to recover now. This bill calls for protocols on the resumption of trade if our ports are attacked. A shutdown of West Coast ports would cost between 1 to $2 billion a day. We saw that 2 years ago.
Since 9/11, the L.A.-Long Beach port complex has only received $58 million in port security grant funding out of $220 million requested.
This bill provides the funding, the strategy, the bipartisan, bicameral support. I urge its passage. This is the first great day of the 2006 legislative calendar.
Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN (R. CA [Sacramento area]):...Madam Chairman, this day is the reason that I decided to come back to the Congress.
An effort to work together on a bipartisan basis to solve one of the great challenges affecting America, that is what this place is all about. There are a lot of cynics and skeptics out there who say that the Congress of the United States is incapable of doing the work that it should do. This day is a refutation of that suggestion. Today is an indication that we can work together. And I want to thank Chairman King for the work that he has done and the broad flexibility that he granted to our subcommittee to put this bill together. I want to thank my ranking member, Loretta Sanchez, for the work she has done; the ranking member on the full committee, Mr. Thompson; and, of course, Jane Harman, my chief co-author on this bill.
This is the best of bills: legislation written to make a law, not to make a political statement. Yes, there are political statements that will be made about this bill, but the fact of the matter is we are moving forward in an effective way to solve a challenge that is out there that the American people recognize and that we recognize.
In response to 9/11, the natural response was for us to look at where we were attacked and to focus most of our attention and energy in that direction. That is why we have had, if you will, a heavy response in the area of aviation safety. But that does not mean we can ignore the other areas.
As I said on the floor yesterday, the greatness of our ports as an integral part of our international trade, the fact that we are leaders in the world in international trade, the fact that we benefit from it more than anybody else, but we do so because it is so different than it was 30, 40, 50 years ago.
The instantaneous communication. The ability to deliver products within a short period of time. The fact that inventory is carried on rail, on trucks, in ships, rather than sitting static in a warehouse somewhere. The world has changed and we have been the leaders in changing the world, and we should be pleased and proud of the tremendous contribution that our ports make to our economy and to our everyday living.
But the very things that make that possible make us vulnerable to those who would destroy everything we stand for. The terrorists do not want to see international trade. The terrorists do not want to see an exchange of ideas. The terrorists do not want to see cultures mixing together. The terrorists do not want to see America shown at its best. And that is what we do, as we Americans live every single day with the benefits of the trade. It is not the totality of what we do, but it is an essential part of what we do. And this bill responds to the attack that those would have on us through this very much shining star in our constellation of America. So I thank the Members for work on this.
I would say we are going to have a debate about 100 percent inspection, and I would say we all would hope for that day. But I would just direct people's attention to the National Journal of this last Friday on the inside page where they have something called the ``Reality Check'' and they refer to this effort to have 100 percent container inspection. They say, and this is the National Journal, that ``it is a nice idea but not very feasible with current technology. Eleven million containers are shipped to U.S. ports each year. Of those, U.S. Customs and border protection personnel physically screen only about 6 percent, 660,000. `It is a noble impulse, but as a practical matter, it can't be accomplished right now,' said Jack Riley, homeland security expert with RAND.''
The key to being able to carry this out in the future is better equipment that stands [we believe he said "scans"] faster; and that requirement, that impulse, is in this bill as a result of an amendment adopted that was presented by the gentlewoman from Florida. We are attempting to make us safer. Let us rejoice in this day and let us support this bill.
Mr. MARKEY (D., MA):...Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
This bill has a fatal flaw. It relies upon paperwork checks. If you went to the airport with your bags, showed up, showed the person your ticket and your ID, and then the person just waived you on to the plane with another 150 people and all the bags went on as well, with no scanning, no screening, you would sit petrified in your seat.
Well, that is what is going to happen, unless the recommittal motion which Mr. Nadler and I are going to make later on today is in fact voted upon successfully.
The Republican leadership has refused to allow a debate on 100 percent screening of cargo containers coming into the United States.
Now, why is that important? It is important because of all of the unsecured nuclear material in the former Soviet Union that al Qaeda can purchase, take to a port in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, and then, with a piece of paper and an ID, waive on a 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 pound container and, with the nuclear bomb inside of it, send that ship, that container, right to a port in the United States, to New York, to Boston, to California, to any other city in America, without being screened.
President Kennedy took on the Soviet Union technologically in the 1960s. He put a man on the moon in 8 years. The Republicans are saying they can't figure out in 8 years, 8 years, from 2001 to 2009, how to screen cargo containers coming into the United States and how to put tamper-proof seals on them, knowing that al Qaeda has said that bringing a nuclear weapon into the United States is their highest goal, to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.
So this vote that we have later on today will decide whether or not this fatal flaw in the Republican bill is allowed to stand, if the Bush administration is allowed to turn a blind eye to the number one threat that al Qaeda poses to our country.
Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Chairman, we went through a very long and productive, bipartisan process in arriving at this point today. It trivializes the debate, it demeans the process, to be suggesting that anyone, anyone at all in this body, certainly anyone on this committee, is not absolutely committed to the protection of every American life. Those of us who came from districts who lost large numbers of people on September 11 perhaps have even a more acute interest in doing all we possibly can.
But we also don't want to do the most cruel thing of all, and that is hold out a false hope. The worst thing of all is to adopt legislation which is symbolic rather than real. We want results. We are not looking for sound bites, we are not looking for headlines, we are not looking for the evening news, we are not looking for the tabloids. We are looking to get results to save American lives and to make America safer.
That is exactly what this legislation does, through layers of defense, through layers of security, through well-thought-out processes and urging as quickly as possible the advancement and the use of technology that can be done. Not technology that might work or might not work, but technology that can work and will work and can be implemented in an effective way.
That is what this is about. That is what the debate should be about. As the late morning and early afternoon goes forward, I am sure the American voters who are watching this will see that there are those of us who do want to maintain the level of debate on both sides of the aisle, and that level is going to bring about American security.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. OBERSTAR (D. MI): ...Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.
...It seems to me that the Rules Committee, maybe the House leadership, fears more our amendment than a container loaded with a potential bomb. What harm is there in debating an amendment that we did debate, we had discussion with in the Transportation Committee?
Why could we not have a debate on it? That does not mean it is going to be accepted. We ought to at least put it in play and have a discussion on it. So now we will put this into the motion to recommit and have a debate there, which is less satisfactory than having a much broader debate.
I am concerned about security in our ports in the maritime arena because of the years that I have spent on aviation security. Eighteen years ago, Pan Am 103 was blown out of the sky nearly on Christmas Eve, December 21, 1988.
I served on the Pan Am 103 Commission, requested by President Bush I, along with our former colleague John Paul Hammerschmidt, Senators Alfonse D'Amato and Frank Lautenberg, and three public members.
As we stood at the abyss in Lockerbie, a trench 14 feet deep, 20 feet wide, 40 feet long, 259 people aboard the aircraft and 11 people on the ground were incinerated in a fire ball that went 10,000 feet into the sky, we vowed we would make aviation safe.
And all it took to bring a 747 down was that much Semtec, stored in a cassette tape recorder, in a suitcase that should never have been forwarded on to the 727 in Frankfurt, after it left Malta, and then on to London. It should never have gotten on the 747. But it did. And with a barometric pressure device and a timer, it blew up over land in Lockerbie, Scotland.
The threat is, yes, to our ports; but it is also to our inland cities. The bomb that could be similarly contained in a TEU could be timed to go off in Boise, Idaho or St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. NADLER (D. NY):...Mr. Chairman, I rise in very tepid support of this bill. It is a very nice bill. It has some nice provisions. None of it matters very much if we do not at least electronically scan every container before it is put on a ship bound for the United States. All it would take is one atomic bomb, one radiological bomb, to make 9/11 look like a fire cracker, to kill hundreds of thousands of people, to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to bring commerce to a total halt for weeks or months while every ship, every container is not scanned, but searched, inspected by hand before they are allowed to proceed into this country, because that is what will happen if there is, God forbid, a disaster in this country.
We have no protection against that now. Even with this bill, we depend on risk-based analysis, on paper as Mr. Markey said, to defend us. What the motion to recommit does is to say that no container can be put on a ship bound for the United States until it is scanned for radiation and for density, until the result of that scan is transmitted electronically in real-time to American inspectors in the United States, and until a tamper-proof seal that will tell us whether that container has been tampered with after it is scanned is put on that container.
We are told this is not feasible. Mr. King says the technology does not exist. But it is done in Hong Kong today. It is done in Hong Kong today. The two biggest terminals in Hong Kong have this. Of course, nobody bothers reading the scans because the Department of Homeland Security cannot be bothered. They are on a hard drive in Hong Kong.
It is relatively cheap, $6.50 per container, 10 seconds per container, no delay. But the DHS has no urgency. Mr. Gingrey, a Republican of Georgia at the Rules Committee, said that he had a company in his district that makes those tamper-proof seals that can talk to the global positioning satellite; but he cannot get DHS to talk to them, they are not interested.
The motion to recommit we are told is irresponsible and partisan. It is, in fact, word for word identical as the amendment that was agreed to by the chairman of the Transportation Committee and adopted unanimously by a bipartisan vote in the Transportation Committee. But suddenly when it comes to the floor, it is a partisan amendment.
The Republicans on the Transportation Committee understood the necessity for protecting our homeland.
The Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee apparently do not, nor does the Republican leadership, because they will not agree to this obvious thing to do that everyone, bipartisan, on the Transportation Committee agreed to do.
Mr. Chairman, the main risk comes from the so-called low-risk containers, not the high-risk containers. Wal-Mart ships a shipment of sneakers from a factory in Indonesia. And on the truck on the way to the port, the truck driver goes to lunch. And while he is at lunch, someone takes out a package of sneakers and puts in an atomic bomb. The bill of lading is fine. It is a reliable company. It is low-risk, and there is an atomic bomb on that container, and no one sees it because that container is not scanned.
Maybe it is scanned under this bill in Boston or in Los Angeles. It is too late to look at it in Los Angeles if there is an atomic bomb on board.
Mr. Chairman, this motion to recommit, which I hope Members will vote for on the merits, not vote party line against it because it is a procedural motion or some such nonsense, makes this a worthy bill, and makes this a bill that will really protect Americans.
Without the motion to recommit, despite what Mr. King says, this bill does a number of things that are nice, but does nothing really to protect the United States.
MOTION TO RECOMMIT OFFERED BY MR. NADLER
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion to recommit.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
Mr. NADLER. Yes, I am in its current form.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to recommit.
The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. Nadler moves to recommit the bill H.R. 4954 to the Committee on Homeland Security with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendments:
Page 51, strike line 16 and all that follows through line 25 on page 52.
Page 80, strike line 10 and all that follows through line 14.
Redesignate sections 202 through 206 of the bill as sections 203 through 207, respectively.
Page 81, after line 23, insert the following new section:
SEC. 202. REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO ENTRY OF CONTAINERS INTO THE UNITED STATES.
(a) Requirements.--Section 70116 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(c) Requirements Relating to Entry of Containers.--
``(1) IN GENERAL.--A container may enter the United States, either directly or via a foreign port, only if--
``(A) the container is scanned with equipment that meets the standards established pursuant to paragraph (2)(A) and a copy of the scan is provided to the Secretary; and
``(B) the container is secured with a seal that meets the standards established pursuant to paragraph (2)(B), before the container is loaded on the vessel for shipment to the United States.
``(2) STANDARDS FOR SCANNING EQUIPMENT AND SEALS.--
``(A) SCANNING EQUIPMENT.--The Secretary shall establish standards for scanning equipment required to be used under paragraph (1)(A) to ensure that such equipment uses the best-available technology, including technology to scan a container for radiation and density and, if appropriate, for atomic elements.
``(B) SEALS.--The Secretary shall establish standards for seals required to be used under paragraph (1)(B) to ensure that such seals use the best-available technology, including technology to detect any breach into a container and identify the time of such breach.
``(C) REVIEW AND REVISION.--The Secretary shall--
``(i) review and, if necessary, revise the standards established pursuant to subparagraphs (A) and (B) not less than once every two years; and
``(ii) ensure that any such revised standards require the use of technology, as soon as such technology becomes available, to--
``(I) identify the place of a breach into a container;
``(II) notify the Secretary of such breach before the container enters the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States; and
``(III) track the time and location of the container during transit to the United States, including by truck, rail, or vessel.
``(D) DEFINITION.--In subparagraph (C), the term `Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States' has the meaning given the term `Exclusive Economic Zone' in section 2101(10a) of this title.''.
(b) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2012.
(c) Regulations; Application.--
(A) INTERIM FINAL RULE.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue an interim final rule as a temporary regulation to implement section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this section, without regard to the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code.
(B) FINAL RULE.--The Secretary shall issue a final rule as a permanent regulation to implement section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this section, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code. The final rule issued pursuant to that rulemaking may supersede the interim final rule issued pursuant to subparagraph (A).
(2) PHASED-IN APPLICATION.--
(A) IN GENERAL.--The requirements of section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, apply with respect to any container entering the United States, either directly or via a foreign port, beginning on--
(i) the end of the 3-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, in the case of a container loaded on a vessel destined for the United States in a country in which more than 75,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers were loaded on vessels for shipping to the United States in 2005; and
(ii) the end of the 5-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, in the case of a container loaded on a vessel destined for the United States in any other country.
(B) EXTENSION.--The Secretary may extend by up to one year the period under clause (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (A) for containers loaded in a port, if the Secretary--
(i) finds that the scanning equipment required under section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, is not available for purchase and installation in the port; and
(ii) at least 60 days prior to issuing such extension, transmits such finding to the appropriate congressional committees.
(d) International Cargo Security Standards.--The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is encouraged to promote and establish international standards
for the security of containers moving through the international supply chain with foreign governments and international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Customs Organization.
(e) International Trade and Other Obligations.--In carrying out section 70116(c) of title 46, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall consult with appropriate Federal departments and agencies and private sector stakeholders to ensure that actions under such section do not violate international trade obligations or other international obligations of the United States.
Mr. NADLER:... I offer this motion to recommit with the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey), and I thank him for his efforts on this issue.
This is a reasonable bill, but none of it matters much if we don't at least electronically scan every shipping container. All it takes is one atomic or radiological bomb to make 9/11 look like a firecracker, to kill hundreds of thousands of people, to cost hundreds of billions of dollars, to bring commerce to a total halt for weeks or months while every ship is searched by hand because we don't have in place the means to scan every container.
That is what this motion is about. If we really want to make this country safer, we must demand that before any container is put on a ship bound for the United States it must be scanned electronically in the foreign port. It is too late if we find a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles or New York.
The container must then be sealed with a seal that will tell us if it is tampered with after it is scanned, and the results of the scan must be transmitted electronically to people in the United States for examination.
This motion is identical to an amendment that was unanimously agreed to by Chairman Young and the entire Transportation Committee a month ago. This is not a partisan issue, unless you choose to make it so by voting ``no.''
They say the technology doesn't exist. The technology most certainly does exist. It is installed right now in Hong Kong. The technology is installed in Hong Kong now, except that the results of those scans are stored on disks because no one at the Department of Homeland Security can be bothered to read them.
The people who say we can't do this are the same people that told us 2 years ago that we couldn't get a bill of lading for every container 24 hours in advance, the same people who told us that if we searched every passenger, the airports would be gridlocked, the planes would never take off. Scanning every container is feasible, it is relatively cheap, and it will not delay global commerce.
If we continue to rely solely on so-called risk-based strategy, the terrorists will simply put the atomic bomb in a low-risk container from Wal-Mart. The real risk is that a good company will have a container with sneakers on a truck in Indonesia. On the way to a port, the driver will stop for lunch; and while he is at lunch terrorists will take out some sneakers and put in a bomb. And the bill of lading will be fine.
The question on this motion is, do we or do we not want to risk American cities and American lives on the chairman's confidence in Wal-Mart's paperwork?
Mr. Speaker, I yield now to a leader on this issue, Mr. Markey.
Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman from New York for his great leadership on this issue.
This recommital motion deals with the fatal flaw in the Republican bill. They have refused to allow a vote on this House floor on this issue. This is now the time for the Members to go on record to get real about cargo security.
The threat is that, in the former Soviet Union, with all of the loose nuclear material, that al Qaeda purchases a nuclear device, brings it to a port in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, places it upon a ship. Using the screening which the Republican party supports, the screening would be a piece of paper. Oh, you look okay. You can bring it on to the ship. No inspection, no scanning. That is what their bill does.
The Democratic substitute says that no container can be placed on a ship coming to the United States which is not scanned for uranium, for nuclear materials, for a nuclear bomb, for weapons of mass destruction.
The screening must be done overseas, and we must seal those containers. We must scan and seal overseas so that we do not have to duck and cover here in the United States. That is the risk that al Qaeda has said they pose to us at the very top of their terrorist target list.
The Republicans are basically saying they are going to put a ``Beware of Dog'' sign out on the lawn but not purchase a dog, never do the screening, never do the inspection, use a paperwork inspection instead.
This bill has a loophole big enough to drive a cargo container filled with nuclear weapons material through it. This is an historic moment.
Here is the seal which the Republicans are still approving to be placed upon a cargo container. This can be cut by a child's scissors, ladies and gentlemen.
This is what should be placed upon each one of the containers after they have been scanned, after they have been sealed, to make sure that if it is tampered with an electronic signal goes to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Republican party says no. The Republican party says they will use paperwork instead of real, physical scanning of each and every cargo container, knowing that it could have a nuclear weapon, knowing that these nuclear materials have not been secured in the former Soviet Union.
Vote ``aye'' on the recommital motion and protect the security of our country from the single greatest threat that is posed to it. Vote ``aye'' on the recommital motion.
Mr. KING [R. NY]...Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the motion to recommit.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. Daniel E. Lungren), the author of the legislation.
Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN [R. CA] : Mr. Speaker, I came to this body with many of you to make sure that we did what was necessary to protect our constituents. I brought this bill to the floor, through the subcommittee, committee and to the floor with that promise in mind.
This is not, as the gentleman from Massachusetts said, a Republican bill. This is, in fact, a bipartisan bill. Eighty cosponsors. Passed our committee 29-0.
There is a dispute with respect to this particular technology, and I might just refer you to the National Journal of this last week talking about this very issue. It said, nice idea, but not very feasible with current technology.
Eleven million containers are shipped to the U.S. ports each year. Of those, U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel physically screen, that means inspect, only about 6 percent, or 660,000.
It is a noble impulse, but, as a practical matter, it can't be accomplished right now, said Jack Riley, Homeland Security expert with Rand.
The key to being able to carry this out in the future is better equipment that scans faster. That is what our bill does. It asks us to accelerate our investigation into new technology. It mandates that the Secretary, if, in fact, he finds that to be usable, practical, adaptable, that he then negotiate with foreign countries to immediately put it into place and, if they refuse, gives our President and our Secretary the right to refuse to allow their cargo into the United States. We don't put a
time limit on it. We said as soon as it is feasible to do it.
So as a great political philosopher, Don Meredith, once said, ``If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.''
We don't bring you a hope that cannot be fulfilled. We bring you a promise that can be fulfilled in this bill. Please vote down this motion to recommit.
Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, let me at the outset commend Ranking Member Thompson, Chairman LUNGREN, Ranking Member SANCHEZ, Ms. Harman for the truly bipartisan job they did in putting this together...
I am proud of how bipartisan this was, right up till a few moments ago. Just this afternoon we adopted nine Democratic amendments on this bill.
The reality is, though, this is an outstanding port security bill. I came from a district which lost more than 150 friends, neighbors and constituents on September 11. Unlike Mr. Markey, I don't need visual aids to remind me of what happened on September 11.
Mr. MARKEY. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr KING of New York. No, I will not yield. I did not interrupt you.
Mr. MARKEY. Mohammed Atta started in Boston, my friend. There were Bostonians on that plane.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New York is recognized.
Mr. KING of New York. Amazing how the truth hurts.
I don't need visual aids to remind me what happened on September 11. I can go to my district office and see a woman working at the front desk who lost two cousins. I can talk to another member of my staff who lost a son, or another member who lost two brothers on that day. I can go to church on Sunday and see 10, 15 families who lost people.
This is an issue where every Member on both sides of the aisle is committed to doing the right thing. And it is wrong when people on the other side say the Republicans are not trying to stop another nuclear attack. Do they really believe that? Do they so demean the process of debate in this House that they are willing to do anything to get elected, do anything to make points on evening news, the sound bites, the cable TV?
The fact is this bill is a real bill. It does not send a false or misleading hope. It is not a cruel hoax. It does what is real. It does what can be done, and that is why I am so proud of this bill.
We adopted amendments by Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite, by Mr. Shays. And, by the way, the language in our bill is far similar to the amendment adopted on a bipartisan basis sponsored by a member of the opposition party in the Senate yesterday than anything Mr. Markey or Mr. Nadler have introduced today.
So I say, do what is right. Stand for real port security, stand for a really strong America. Vote down the motion to recommit and vote for the underlying bill that will bring about real safe ports in this country and we can all be proud of it.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit...
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered...
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 202, nays 222, not voting 8, as follows: