Lieberman States the Case for Homeland Security Department

WASHINGTON – Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., noting widespread agreement between Democrats and Republicans for the overall mission and powers of a new Department of Homeland Security, is urging his colleagues to support legislation creating the agency.

The legislation, S.2452, will be among the first orders of business when the Senate reconvenes September 3rd. In a letter to his Senate colleagues, Lieberman said that only with an intelligent organizational design, a unified chain of command, and an accountable leader capable of getting results can government’s personnel and resources be effectively coordinated to prevent, prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.

“The end product of this careful Senate process is very similar to the Administration’s proposal as it was unveiled in June, and to the legislation passed by the House last month,” Lieberman said. “The overall mission and powers of the new agency in our proposal and the Administration’s are virtually the same.”

Despite this consensus, Lieberman acknowledged areas of disagreement but said most were “divisive provisions that are frankly peripheral to the core mission at hand… The Administration has blurred the focus of its bill, and risked dragging this common cause into a quicksand of unnecessary controversy.

“It would be a tragedy,” Lieberman continued, “for us to scorch the substantial tract of common ground on which all our proposals have been built, and in the process, fail to create the strong and accountable Department of Homeland Security the American people deserve.”

A link to the text of the letter is below: