Washington, D.C. – On the eve of the first round of public hearings by the national commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack against the United States, Senator Jon S. Corzine (D-NJ) introduced legislation today to increase funding for the commission. Senators Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) joined as original co-sponsors of the Corzine bill.
The New Jersey Democrat said failing to properly fund the work of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States would undermine the commission’s ability to thoroughly investigate the events leading up to the September 11th terrorist attack and make recommendations to strengthen national and homeland security. Congress originally authorized a $ 3 million appropriation for the commission late last year, but commission officials last week sought an additional $11 million from the administration after an analysis of its anticipated costs. Senator Corzine’s legislation demands full funding for the commission’s work.
“We expect the commission to be thorough, to painstakingly examine all of the facts, and to draw up findings and recommendations that will strengthen America’s security,” Senator Corzine said. “We will never meet those expectations if the commission does not receive the funding it needs to do its work and fulfill its mandate.”
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the Government Affairs Committee, said, “The Commission has an enormous responsibility to the American public. Because its thoroughness depends on its ability to be aggressive, tireless, and searching, we must provide the commission with the funding it needs. This is the only way we will learn from our failures and move forward to close the glaring gaps in our domestic defenses so that we are never caught off guard again.”
Former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, who is now the president of Drew University in Madison, N.J, chairs the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The commission plans to hold its first public hearings in New York City on Monday, March 31 and Tuesday, April 1. The commission is charged with investigating events that led up to the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the crash of United Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania, and with recommending structural reforms that will strengthen homeland security and prevent another attack.