WASHINGTON–The White House Tuesday issued a statement endorsing the Collins-Lieberman National Reform Act of 2004 (S.2845). The legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, of which Senator Susan Collins is the Chairman and Senator Joseph Lieberman is the ranking member. The Collins-Lieberman bill is now being considered on the Senate floor.
In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House wrote that it “supports Senate passage of S.2845, commends the Committee for its expeditious attention to these important intelligence reform issues” and that it “supports, in particular, the establishment of a NID (National Intelligence Director) with full, effective, and meaningful budget authorities.”
The White House statement followed a press conference on Capitol Hill, during which 9/11 Commissioners, 9/11 families, and the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee expressed their support for the Collins-Lieberman intelligence reform bill.
Lee Hamilton, the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, commended the legislation for embracing the key recommendations of the Commission’s report – the creation of a National Intelligence Director and a National Counterterrorism Center. “It is, in our view, an excellent bill and we believe it is the right vehicle for legislative action,” Hamilton said. 9/11 Commissioner Slade Gorton was also present at today’s press conference. The Commission has endorsed the Collins-Lieberman bill.
Mary Fetchet, the Founding Director of the Voices of September 11th and whose son was killed in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center, encouraged the House of Representatives to work in earnest to pass legislation that agrees with the Collins-Lieberman proposal in the Senate. In an open letter to the House that was released today, the family members of 9/11 victims wrote, “This Congress must rise above politics by enacting legislation that is true to the core reforms recommended by the Commission. This is the only conscionable response to the September 11th tragedy.”
Senators Collins and Lieberman thanked the Commission, victims’ families, the Administration and House Intelligence leaders for their contributions to the creation of the intelligence reform legislation. “The bottom line is that we all are working together to achieve the same goal, to make America safer by enacting the most significant and sweeping reform of the nation’s intelligence community in more than 50 years,” said Collins and Lieberman in a joint statement. “We are confident that with the support of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 families, the White House, and House Intelligence leaders, we can work together and through any differences to achieve real and comprehensive reform.”