King Statement on 9/11 Report Card From Commission Co-chairs
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9/11 Co-chairs Stress Importance of D Block Reallocation and Congressional Committee Reform
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Report Card released by 9/11 Commission co-chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton:
“I commend Gov. Kean and Rep. Hamilton for producing yet another insightful report that should serve to guide Congress and other policymakers as we work to further secure our homeland from al-Qaeda and its affiliates and adherents.
“Their report highlights a number of significant shortcomings in our efforts of the past 10 years, noting major unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The findings reaffirm my long-held position on two important homeland security issues.
“I was heartened to see the Commissioners repeat their support for immediate reallocation of the D Block for public safety for the construction of a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for use by America’s first responders. I have introduced the bipartisan H.R. 607, the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011, to do just that. The Commissioners reminded us that the ‘inability of first responders to communicate with each other on demand was a critical failure of 9/11’ that ‘led to needless loss of life.’ President Obama supports the reallocation of D Block for public safety, as do the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans and Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee and virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country.
“I urge the House to take up my legislation, H.R. 607, as soon as possible so that we can provide our nation’s first responders with the tools they require to fulfill their mission.
“The Commissioners also reminded us that congressional oversight of the homeland security functions of government remains ‘dysfunctional,’ calling it a ‘recipe for confusion.’ The Commissioners concluded that even 10 years after 9/11, the ‘homeland security committees in the House and Senate do not have sufficient jurisdiction over important agencies within the Department of Homeland Security.’ DHS currently answers to over 100 congressional committees and subcommittees, with concurrent and overlapping jurisdiction. The Commissioners noted that the current congressional committee organization wastes resources and results in conflicting guidance to DHS.
“I pledge to continue to work with Speaker Boehner and other House leaders to implement this important recommendation on House committee jurisdiction.”