Transcript of Today's Pelosi, Bennie Thompson's Press Conference

WASHINGTON, July 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi , Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson , and 9/11 Commissioners Lee Hamilton and Tim Roemer , held a news conference in the Capitol this afternoon prior to a...

Madam Speaker, I want to acknowledge your determined leadership to fulfilling the unfinished business of the 9/11 Commission and for setting a new direction for America. I now recognize Speaker Pelosi.

Ms. Pelosi . Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman , for your kind words but, more importantly, for your great leadership in bringing us to where we are in the consideration of this important legislation.

Mr. Chairman , I want to join you in acknowledging the enormous contribution of our families of 9/11. Without them, there would be no 9/11 Commission recommendations. Without them, there would have been no 9/11 Commission.

It is an honor to be with them any time we come together. It is a special privilege today when we can offer you an accomplishment.

Pretty soon, hopefully, this bill will pass the Congress and be signed into law. Today, going to conference is a very, very important joint step.

And under the leadership of Vice Chair of that Commission, Lee Hamilton , who is "Chairman" to us of the Foreign Relations Committee in the House of Representatives and Chairman of the Iraq Study Group. He wears so many hats that relate to the safety, security of our country, so many hats as to how we project our power and how we project our ideas and how we protect the American people with his work on that commission. He is joined by Tim Roemer , who is with us today; together, they did indeed move to make America safer. Tim Roemer was the author of the 9/11 Commission whose recommendations we are intending to legislate today.

Three years ago, that Commission made recommendations to the Congress. We are very pleased that the very first act of Congress in the new Congress this year, H.R. 1, was legislation to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. They had our highest priority. They were our first act of this new Congress.

The Chairman has spelled out what the legislation will do, and those words spell out better security for our families in America. So I thank you. I commend Senator Lieberman . Senator Collins , the ranking member on the committee, Congressman King and all who worked together to bring this bipartisan legislation forth.

We have always said that any discussion of 9/11 in any way, shape or form would be made on sacred ground, with reverence to those who were lost. We promised you answers, and we promised you a safer America. Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Roemer got you some of the answers. Hopefully, this legislation will fulfill the rest of the promise.

Now I am pleased to yield the floor to the very distinguished Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission; and what an honor it is indeed for us. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton .

Mr. Hamilton . Thank you very much, Speaker Pelosi.

Bennie, I picked up that phrase of yours a moment ago that the conference committee is going to meet at 1 o'clock. What that means is I better keep my remarks very brief, because I want that conference committee to sit and get to work right away.

We are very grateful indeed for the leadership that the Speaker has given to this issue. H.R.1. That tells you a lot. That tells you that it was her number one priority when she put that into the hopper, and we are now very grateful that has progressed this far.

And Chairman Thompson and Ranking Member Peter King , we are grateful to each of you and to all of the members of the House and the Senate committees that have made this possible. I speak, I am sure, for all of the commissioners of the 9/11 Commission to express our appreciation at the progress the bill has made.

I happen to think that there is a third party that will be sitting in the conference committee. There are Senators and there are Members of the House. There are Republicans and there are Democrats. But let me assure you, Chairman Thompson , that there will be a brooding, omnipotent power as you look over your work, and it is represented right here.

Every day, every hour that the 9/11 Commission met we were aware of these people. You will be aware of them as you proceed in your deliberations. And I think the third party that is present in the conference committee are the families of the victims and, in a broader sense, the American people.