[Congressional Record: September 3, 2002 (Senate)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002--MOTION TO PROCEED
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the Chair
lays before the Senate the cloture motion, which the clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the
provisions of Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate,
hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to
proceed to H.R. 5005, a bill to establish the Department of
Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, Zell Miller, Joseph Lieberman,
Tim Johnson, Debbie Stabenow, John Edwards, Jon
Corzine, Susan Collins, Robert F. Bennett, Trent Lott,
Pete Domenici, Rick Santorum, Fred Thompson, Peter
Fitzgerald, Jim Bunning.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, time for
debate on the motion is limited to 7 hours to be equally divided
between the Senator from Connecticut, Mr. Lieberman, and the Senator
from Tennessee, Mr. Thompson, for the proponents, and the Senator from
West Virginia, Mr. Byrd, for the opponents, or their designees.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, the two managers will be here very shortly.
I ask unanimous consent that the time for the quorum be charged equally
against both sides, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so
The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so
The Senator from West Virginia is recognized.
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, let me beg the Senator's forgiveness. Before
he begins, I want to ask this earlier rather than later. May I ask a
question with respect to the amendment?
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Of course.
Mr. BYRD. Is the amendment that the distinguished Senator will offer
as a substitute the amendment I have seen? Is that the amendment?
Mr. LIEBERMAN. In responding to the Senator from West Virginia, that
is indeed the amendment. What is before the Senate now, as the Senator
from West Virginia knows, is the House-passed bill. It is my intention,
assuming the motion to proceed passes today, to offer as a substitute
the legislation that was adopted by the Senate Governmental Affairs
Committee in July, which has been distributed to the Senator from West
Virginia and others.
Mr. BYRD. May I ask the distinguished Senator, with great respect,
does he have any suggestion as to how we will handle the time on quorum
Mr. LIEBERMAN. I appreciate the question. It was my hope we could
agree that the time on the quorum calls be subtracted equally from each
side. Is that agreeable to the Senator from West Virginia?
Mr. BYRD. I hope it would not be. Once I begin, I don't plan to have
any quorum calls. Yet, of course, at times it becomes necessary. When I
do ask for a quorum call, I will expect that to be taken out of my
time. I would not want to divide the time equally on quorum calls, I
say with great respect.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. The Senator has that privilege, and I have no desire
to limit debate. So let us just agree that quorum calls will remove
time from the side that asks for the quorum call.
Mr. BYRD. Very well. I have one further question. In closing the
debate, does the Senator have any particular way he wishes to proceed?
I believe he would want to close the debate. If I might make a
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Please.
Mr. BYRD. I ask if I could go preceding the Senator and if the
distinguished minority member, Mr. Thompson, could speak just prior to
me. That would be my suggestion. However, if Senator Thompson wants to
do this differently, I will accept that.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. I thank the Senator from West Virginia. That order was
exactly what I had in mind. I ask Senator Thompson if that is agreeable
Mr. THOMPSON. It is most agreeable to me. I think that is the way to
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Fine. So we will close the debate in the last half
hour going from Senator Thompson, to Senator Byrd, to myself.
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, will the Senator yield further?
Mr. LIEBERMAN. I will.
Mr. BYRD. May I say, I hope we will not confine our closing arguments
to a half hour. As far as I am concerned, when we get to that point,
perhaps we can wait until the last hour to close the arguments, or the
last hour and a half, and Senator Thompson would proceed, and then the
Senator from West Virginia, and then the distinguished manager of the
bill, and that we not limit ourselves--the three of us--to the totality
of 30 minutes.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Once again, Mr. President, that suggestion is
agreeable to me. Debate, as the Senator from West Virginia knows, is
limited to 3\1/2\ hours on each side. But some of this will depend on
how many colleagues come to the floor to speak. Let us work together. I
agree that we don't have to limit the time in which we go to closing
arguments to the last half hour. We can work that out ourselves and
take longer than that. That is fine.
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, may I say I thank the distinguished Senator,
the manager of the bill. I have only the very highest degree of respect
for him, and I have only the highest degree of respect for the
committee, and for his counterpart--if I may use that word--a very
respected Senator, the Senator from Tennessee. I have great respect,
and anything I say during this debate will be only with the desire in
mind to contribute something that will reflect well upon this Senate in
the days and years to come.
I have every belief that the Senator from Connecticut and the Senator
from Tennessee approach the matter in the same spirit. I thank the
Senators for yielding.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from West Virginia
for his graciousness. Of course, Senator Thompson and I return the
respect the Senator kindly offered to us. This is a very significant
debate. It goes to the heart of the security of the American people
today, post September 11, and it is also, by my calculation, the
largest reorganization of the Federal Government since the late 1940s.
Therefore, the kind of debate in which I know the Senator from West
Virginia intends to engage is very much in the public interest. I look
forward to it.
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I thank the Senator.
September 11 is now one of the darkest days in American history
because of the almost 3,000 innocent lives that were taken and because
of the way in which the American people were jarred from the dream that
we would experience a time of extended peace after our victory in the
cold war. The attacks made against us on September 11 were not just
vicious in their inhumanity and in the lives that were taken in
tragic consequences, but also in the assault made by the terrorists on
our very way of life, on our values.
We are a nation whose founders stated right in the original American
document, the Declaration of Independence, that every citizen has the
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that right is
the endowment of our Creator. Yet we were attacked on September 11 by a
group that claimed to be acting in the name of God. Yet they took
planes into buildings full of thousands of people without regard to the
lives of those people, killing them only because they were Americans,
acting in the name of God to kill almost 3,000 children of God--diverse
and varied in age and demographics, as the American people are.
It is in that sense that I view September 11 as an attack on our way
of life. It is why we have pulled together after that as united people
to resist, to strike back at those who struck at us first, through our
courageous and skillful military achieving a great victory in
Afghanistan. We must continue, since Afghanistan was only the first
battle in the war against terrorism, to search out and capture or
destroy all the enemy that remains in this unprecedented war,
unprecedented in so many ways because we cannot see the enemy on a
battlefield, they are not on ships at sea, but they are out there
living in the shadows, preparing to strike us again.
What this proposal is about, stated in the most direct way, is to
diminish, hopefully eliminate, the vulnerabilities of which the
terrorists took advantage to strike at us on September 11, so that they
will never again be able to do that.
I am not one who views another September 11-type attack as
inevitable. We are the strongest nation in the history of the world,
militarily and economically. We are united by our shared values. We are
a patriotic and innovative people, and if we marshal these strengths,
we can make another September 11-type attack impossible, and that is
the aim of the legislation our committee puts before the Senate today.
The urgent purpose of all three versions of homeland security that
are in the discussion now--and I am speaking of the proposal by
President Bush, the proposal passed by the House, and the one endorsed
by the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Senate--is to meet the
urgent post-September 11 security challenge we face, which is
unprecedented, by consolidating the disparate Federal agencies and
offices that deal with homeland security into a single Cabinet
department under a strong, accountable Secretary.
In one sense, one might say the problem with the Federal Government's
organization today with regard to homeland security is that a lot of
people are involved in homeland security but nobody is in charge. The
mission of this new Department that all three proposals would create is
to spearhead the Federal Government's defense of the American people
against terrorism on our home soil, working particularly with States,
counties, cities, towns, and Native American tribes across the country
and working with the private sector to improve their preparedness and
As the 1-year anniversary of September 11 approaches, the
reconstruction of the Pentagon is almost complete, the field in
Pennsylvania, to the casual eye, looks almost like any other field, and
plans for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site are already
being actively discussed. But the reality is that the vulnerabilities
the terrorists exploited on September 11 in America's homeland defense
structure still exist. We are still at risk, and that is why we must
urgently proceed to discuss, debate, and then adopt legislation
creating a Department of Homeland Security.
The dark day of September 11 and the future it foretold are seared in
our minds and our hearts. We must never stop feeling anger and outrage
about what our enemies did to us. We must never stop mourning the 3,000
lives we lost. We must never stop honoring the legacy they left. We
must never stop supporting the families whose loved ones were the first
casualties of the war on terrorism. And we must never stop treasuring
the freedoms and the opportunities that make this Nation truly the
light it is to so many people around the world.
The single most important action we can take now as individuals and
as a nation, in addition to continuing the military phase of the
offensive war against terrorism, is to channel our sorrow, our outrage,
our unity, our anxiety, and our pride into building better defenses at
This legislation is not a single-magic-bullet answer to our homeland
security challenges--much more work needs to be done--but I am
convinced it is a strong and necessary first step. It will provide the
structure that can deliver the defense the American people deserve.
I thank President Bush for embracing the creation of a Department of
Homeland Security and for the diligence with which he and his staff
have worked through the details with members of our committee, with
Members of the Senate, and with Members of the House. Amendments always
highlight differences, but the reality is that President Bush and the
majority of members of the Governmental Affairs Committee who reported
out the legislation are in agreement on more than 90 percent of what
this legislation provides. We stand broadly on common ground, even as
we debate some of the remaining differences between us.
I also want to thank my colleagues in this Chamber for their
contributions and cooperation across party lines for the building of
this proposal. We have come a long way, and we must get to the end in
this session. I particularly want to thank my ranking member, Senator
Thompson, for his characteristic constructive and thoughtful
contributions to this proposal, even when we have been in dissent. The
least we can do for the American people and for Senator Fred Thompson
is to pass this legislation while he is still a Senator, before he
The President and Congress and the American people have made real
progress since September 11. A successful military campaign in
Afghanistan, creating the Office of Homeland Security, passing the USA
Patriot Act, creating a Transportation Security Administration,
beginning to reform the FBI--those are just a few of the significant
steps we have taken forward together.
Federal employees are working very hard at their assigned tasks and
working increasingly in cooperation with our State and local colleagues
to keep the American people safe. We have to speak frankly about this
as we begin the consideration of this legislation.
Our progress will hit a wall--in effect it has--if we do not reform
the Federal Government's homeland security capabilities because the
gains we have made in keeping America safe since September 11 have
been, and will continue to be, in some sense despite the system, not
because of it.
The system, the organization, is dispersed and in some ways it is
dysfunctional. It needs to become coherent and consolidated,
coordinated, to rise to the complex challenge of defeating 21st century
terrorism in our homeland.
The 18 hearings we on the Governmental Affairs Committee have held
since September 11 on this matter, and countless other hearings by so
many other committees, have made the scope and depth of this
disorganization and dysfunction clear.
To sum it up in the words of Stephen Flynn, senior fellow of national
security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, who testified
before us on October 21 of last year:
We have built our defense and intelligence communities to fight an
Now we must build them to fight at home and to win. Across our
Government, we are dividing our strengths when we desperately need to
be multiplying them. As the President acknowledged on June 6, the
Office of Homeland Security, though ably headed by Gov. Tom Ridge, did
not have the structural power to get the job done we need done. Indeed,
the release on July 16 of the President's national strategy for
homeland security, underlay the importance of creating a Department
that can orchestrate the huge task ahead.
The status quo is simply unacceptable and we must rise to the
occasion by organizing for the occasion. We must move from
disorganization toward organization. When we pass this legislation, the
American people, for
the first time, must be able to look to a single Federal agency that
will take the lead in the homeland fight against terrorism and to hold
that agency accountable for accomplishing what is Government's first
responsibility, and that is to provide, as the Constitution says, for
the common defense. And now that means the defense of the American
people at home.
The Department we will create will be led by a Presidentially
appointed, Senate-confirmed Secretary. It would be comprised of six
directorates that, taken together, would accomplish its missions and
goals. Let me briefly describe them now.
First is intelligence. I put that first intentionally because we
cannot prevent attacks, nor can we adequately prepare to protect
ourselves or respond if we cannot first detect the danger. This
legislation would establish a strong intelligence division to receive
all terrorism-related intelligence from Federal, State, and local
authorities; from human intelligence and signal intelligence; from
closed and open sources; from the FBI and the CIA, including foreign
intelligence analysis from the Director of Central Intelligence's
Counterterrorism Center. Then it would have the authority to fuse that
all in a single place. This would be the one place--which does not
exist in our Government now--where all the proverbial dots could be
connected as they were not because of existing barriers to sharing
information prior to September 11. Indeed, the new Department will not
just receive and analyze intelligence collected from other agencies; it
will contain agencies within itself that collect intelligence and will
share it and send it up to this directorate of intelligence. I am
speaking of the Customs Service, of Immigration, of the Coast Guard, of
the Transportation Security Agency, all examples. All of that will be
fed into the same stream.
I want to stress that stream will include information from State and
local law enforcers who we acknowledge now are the first responders, as
we saw on September 11.
If this directorate of intelligence is working well, State and local
law enforcers can become first preventers. They are hundreds of
thousands of eyes out across America who can share information, who can
help us detect patterns and work with law enforcement to prevent any
future attacks against America. This precise capability exists nowhere
in Government and would be designed to complement the Director of
Central Intelligence's Counterterrorism Center and the capabilities of
other intelligence and law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.
This directorate would not collect intelligence; it would receive it
and analyze it. It would mean all information related to terrorist
threats on American soil would, for the first time in our history, come
together in this one place. Perhaps it could be called a hear-all-evil
and see-all-evil office. That is precisely what we need to prevent the
recurrence of the disastrous disconnects that left the puzzle pieces of
the September 11 plot laying scattered throughout our Government, when
they should have been together in one box so they could have been
assembled. That is what this division of intelligence would do.
The second, critical infrastructure: We can expect terrorists to try
to hurt us by destroying or disrupting our infrastructure. What do we
mean by that? Well, our water and agricultural delivery systems, our
energy grids, our information technology networks, our transportation
systems, our ports and airports, and more. Eighty-five percent of our
infrastructure is actually owned and operated by the private sector.
That is the nervous system, the respiratory system, the circulatory
system of our society. Infrastructure, however, is not the only target.
Indeed, attacks by weapons of mass destruction have up until now been
designed largely to destroy people, not to damage our infrastructure.
In fact, of course, the attacks on September 11 were not against
infrastructure in the way in which that term has normally been meant.
They were against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But
infrastructure is a big, vulnerable, and complex target.
Today, responsibility for working with the private sector to
safeguard it is spread thin throughout the Federal bureaucracy. This
directorate would mesh critical infrastructure protection programs now
residing in five different Federal agencies, including the Department
of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the General Services
Third is a border and transportation protection directorate. Every
potential source of danger that is not already inside our country must
come in through our ports or airports or over our borders. Once danger
gets inside, it is much harder to root out. So to effectively
interdict, interrupt, and intercept terrorists and the weapons of toxic
materials or mass destruction they seek to smuggle in, this directorate
would bring together our Customs Service, the border quarantine
inspectors of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the
Department of Agriculture, the recently created Transportation Security
Administration, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
The Coast Guard will also be transferred to the new Department
reporting directly to the Director of Homeland Security and will work
closely with all other authorities on our waterways, in our ports, and
at our borders.
Fourth is science and technology. Now terrorists will try to turn
chemistry, biology, and technology against us in untraditional and
inhumane ways. So we are challenged to marshal our superior
technological talents to preempt them and protect our people.
This science and technology directorate is intended to leverage
America's advantage on this front, creating a lean entity to manage and
coordinate innovative homeland security research and development and to
spearhead rapid technology transaction and deployment. It would be
armed with an array of mechanisms to catalyze and harness the enormous
scientific and technological potential residing within our Government,
within our private sector, and within our university communities.
One of the key features of this directorate will be a homeland
security version of the Defense Advanced Research Protects Agency,
DARPA, which has sparked the development of Revolutionary Warfighting
Tools for our military throughout the cold war and now into the post-
cold-war world, the very tools and systems and weapons that enabled our
courageous and skillful fighting forces to terrify and defeat the
Taliban in Afghanistan so brilliantly and to disrupt the al-Qaida
Of course, DARPA has also spun off from its technologies to create
some of the most remarkable commercial and civilian technologies that
characterize our age, including the Internet.
It is our hope and prayer that this new Department, which we would
like to call SARPA, the Security Advanced Research Projects Agency,
will do the same for our homeland security and for our economy.
Fifth, emergency preparedness and response: After September 11, we
all have an obligation to think about and to prepare ourselves for the
unthinkable, including attacks with chemical, biological, radiological,
and nuclear weapons at home. This directorate with the Federal
Emergency Management Agency at its core will combine and integrate the
strengths of a number of Federal agencies and offices responsible for
dispensing critical vaccines and medicines for training local and State
officials in emergency readiness, and for reacting to and helping the
American people recover from the attacks that we hope and pray and will
work to deter, but we must be ready to respond.
Six is immigration. America's positive fundamental heritage of
immigration, central to our character as a country of opportunity and
responsibility and community, must be honored. But at the same time,
after September 11 we have to look with new clarity and intensity at
illegal immigration as well as how to better screen those who come to
this country legally and may stay beyond the time allowed.
Our proposal brings the troubled Immigration and Naturalization
Service into the Department of Homeland Security and places those
functions in a separate division within it. Then, to undo internal
conflicts in the agency and give each set of functions the concerted
attention it deserves, we propose to split the directorate into two
distinct but closely linked bureaus as called for in the bipartisan INS
restructuring plan of our colleagues, Senator Kennedy and Senator
Brownback. This is a long overdue major reorganization of a very
We also require the Secretary to establish a border security working
group comprised of himself, working with the Under Secretary for Border
and Transportation Security and the Under Secretary for Immigration
Affairs. Our goal is to make passage more efficient and orderly for
most people and goods crossing the border while at the same time
raising our capacity to identify and stop dangerous people and things
from entering America.
Those are the six core directorates which we see as six spokes of the
wheel. Where they meet at the axis is where our security at home comes
There are a few important pieces of this legislation I want to
describe additionally. As we need to keep reiterating, this is not
solely a Federal responsibility or a Federal fight in the war against
terrorism, it is a national responsibility and a national fight, with
the front lines being drawn in our cities and towns all across America.
One need only look at the long list of fallen heroes of September 11 to
understand that. That is why we in Washington must do a far better job
of creating and sustaining potent partnerships with States and
localities which will be facilitated, I am confident, through the new
Department. We are creating an Office of State and Local Government
Coordination. This office is designed to assess and advocate for the
resources needed by State and local governments all across the country.
In fact, there is separate legislation, quite appropriate,
recommending the creation of a homeland security block grant. The
initial amount proposed is $3.5 billion for fiscal year 2003.
I know from having spoken to the Presiding Officer, speaking to the
local responders and first preventers, they are already spending
significant funds to carry out the wider range of homeland security
responsibilities they have. This is a national problem, and they are
playing a large role in responding. We have to give them the resources,
the funds, to make that possible. In fact, to meet the pressing need
for well-trained firefighters in our communities, our legislation
includes an amendment offered by Senators Carnahan and Collins that
points Federal assistance to local communities nationwide, patterned on
the very successful COPS program adopted during the Clinton
administration. This program for firefighters would enable the hiring
of as many as 10,000 additional firefighters per year.
The Office of State and Local Government Coordination would also be
strengthened with the help of an amendment offered by Senators Carper
and Collins providing a number of new mechanisms, including the
creation of liaison positions in each State in the country, a liaison
with the new Department of Homeland Security to ensure close and
constant coordination between the Federal Government and the first
responders, first preventers, who are our principal partners in this
Recognizing the need to ensure that fundamental American freedoms are
not curbed as we build a more secure society, our legislation also
creates positions of civil rights officer and privacy officer, as well
as a designated officer under the inspector general within the new
Department. Those positions will provide the Secretary valuable
guidance to help craft effective policies and practices that don't
compromise individual rights, and ensure there is an effective avenue
for receiving complaints and investigating them. Outside of this
Department, within the White House, the amendment would create another
entity, a National Office for Combating Terrorism. Here I want to give
substantial credit to the Senator from Florida, Mr. Graham, who has
worked very hard with Members of both parties, in this Chamber and the
other body, to fashion this proposal.
We cannot fail to recognize that the fight against terrorism is, by
definition, larger than what will be done by this new Department of
Homeland Security. It will involve our military and intelligence
communities separately, our diplomatic services, our law enforcement
agencies, our international economic agencies, and many others. It
seems to me and the committee that it is therefore still necessary to
have a policy architect in the White House who can design and build the
overriding antiterrorism strategy for and with the President, and to
coordinate the implementation of that strategy that will necessarily go
beyond the Department of Homeland Security.
The director of this office will work, of course, with the Homeland
Security Secretary to develop the national strategy for combating
terrorism and the homeland security response. With budget certification
authority, the director of this White House office will be able to make
sure all the budgets that make up our antiterrorism national strategy
fit together smoothly. And because of the critical nature of this job,
according to our legislation, the director would be confirmed by the
Senate, making him or her accountable to the Congress and to the people
of the United States.
That is an overview of our legislation as will be contained in the
amendment I look forward to putting before the Senate this evening,
after, hopefully, we have adopted the motion to proceed. I am proud
that on the guts, on the fundamentals, of this proposal we in the
Senate are near unified on this attempt to form, in a very modern
context, what our Founders described as ``a more perfect Union.''
Winston Churchill once said:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an
optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
I think only a big pessimist would see the difficulty in the
opportunity this Department would create to secure our people and our
homeland. We have crafted here a fundamentally optimistic and I think
realistic answer to the homeland security challenges we face--seeing
opportunity, not difficulty. As we go forward with amendments and
discussion and votes on the remaining differences, I hope and believe
that optimism will prevail and constructive action will result.
Together, united across party lines, as it has been over and over again
throughout history, our great country, which today faces a challenge
that is unprecedented, will give the response we are called on to
give--which is equally unprecedented.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bayh). The Senator from Tennessee.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. President, it is indeed true that today we begin
consideration of the most significant reorganization of the executive
branch in over 50 years. Not since the creation of the Department of
Defense and the creation of the national intelligence apparatus in the
National Security Act of 1947 has the Senate considered such a massive
restructuring of Federal agencies.
Just as World War II and the start of the cold war demonstrated the
need to reorganize our defense and intelligence establishment, the
terrorist attacks of September 11 demonstrate the need to reorganize
our homeland security establishment to address the threat of terrorism
and other types of asymmetric warfare against our country and against
I start by acknowledging and thanking Senator Lieberman, the manager
of the bill, for his leadership on this issue. He was an early
supporter of legislation to reorganize the executive branch to confront
emerging threats against our country. He recognized what needed to be
done and has worked hard to get us to the point where we are today.
While we have some disagreements in some important areas, in the end
we both believe that the creation of a new Department of Homeland
Security is needed to make this country safe. Our Nation and the Senate
also owe a debt of gratitude to the Members of the Hart-Rudman and
Gilmore Commissions. Recommendations from both commissions have
contributed greatly to our efforts. Indeed, the proposal before us owes
much to the insight and thoughtful recommendations of our former
colleagues, Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman.
This legislation is one of the centerpieces of our country's overall
homeland security strategy. What we do here will have lasting effects
on our Nation. It will certainly outlive us. We should not shy away
from the fact that
while some bureaucracies will be reduced and eliminated, we will be
creating a large new bureaucracy with new leadership, a new mission,
and a new culture. However, even advocates of smaller Government
realize it is a mission that is vital to the security of this Nation,
the most important responsibility of this or any other government and
one of the basic responsibilities outlined for the National Government
by the framers of our Constitution. That is what we are about today.
I think it is appropriate perhaps to take a moment to reflect on how
we got here. It is obvious to all that in the last several years we
have undergone a revolution in the world in terms of the advances of
modern technology. The same thing has happened with regard to
transportation. We have also seen the emerging of a brand of religious
radicalism that has infected certain parts of our world. We have seen
the merging of those factors together, now, so that a small band of
people, a small group of people, or even individuals on the other side
of the world can wreak tremendous damage to our homeland.
It is a different world we live in today, and we must have different
means of dealing with it. We have seen attacks on us over the last
several years that have become more and more indicative of the kind of
world we can expect in the future: The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia,
the original World Trade Center bombing, our embassies have been
attacked, the U.S.S. Cole has been attacked. There have been other
attempts that have failed because of the intelligence we were able to
obtain. Attacks have been thwarted.
We have seen over the last few years, through our committee hearings
and through reports of the GAO and other governmental entities, a
rising pattern of capabilities, in terms not only of terrorism but of
rogue nation-states and their increasing ability to deliver weapons of
mass destruction, to develop those weapons of mass destruction, and to
have the missile capability and other capabilities of delivering those
for thousands and thousands of miles.
We have seen intelligence reports reminding us from time to time that
this is what is going on out there.
We have not paid as much attention to that in times past as we should
have. When we look back with the vision we have now and see the attacks
that have come upon us around the world, attacks on our interests and
our people, coupled with the intelligence information we were getting
here in our own Congress, we should have been able to see, as some of
us have seen, that there was a developing pattern out there that needed
to be addressed by the Congress.
One of the good things that comes from such a tragedy under which we
are now laboring is that it does finally focus our attention and allows
us to do some things we should have done some time ago. It is a
terrible price to pay in order to get us here, but we are here now and
we should take advantage of that opportunity.
How do we react to something like September 11? We react by coming
together, as the American people have. We react by being strong
militarily and having the kind of leadership that we have to carry out
the necessary operations overseas. We are doing that. The President
said in the very beginning that it was going to be a long, tough road.
Indeed, it is proving to be. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort for
people to rally right after an attack. But it is going to take
something special from the American people to have the stick-to-
itiveness, and to have the stamina it is going to take, over a long
period of time, for us to do what we are in the midst of doing now
We also react by changing our priorities. We cannot continue, in the
Congress of the United States, in terms of budgetary matters, for
example, to act as if these are normal times. We cannot have guns and
butter at all times. We cannot have our cake and eat it, too. We have
to prioritize now to deal with this threat that we have to our Nation.
Finally, the other important thing we can do is the one we are
dealing with here today, this week, and days hereafter, and that is
addressing and improving the institutions we have in our Government to
deal with such matters and specifically the new threat we face.
We have seen--Senator Lieberman and I--especially in the Governmental
Affairs Committee over the last several years, an increasing array of
problems that our Government has. There have been problems in
management. There have been problems in trying to develop information
technology that the private sector already has up and running. We have
spent billions and billions of dollars and still have difficulty in
getting that right and integrating those systems into our governmental
We have financial management difficulties. We literally cannot pass
an audit as a Government. We lose things and misplace things such as
military equipment and other troubling things such as that. We have
human capital problems. Half our workforce is going to be eligible for
retirement before long. We do not have what we should have, in terms of
ability to recruit, ability to retain, ability to keep the people we
need and not keep the people we do not need, and pay the ones we need
to pay for these high-tech jobs--jobs that are so highly paid out in
the private sector--to do the things we have to do in Government now.
All of this presents a real problem to us, as a government, a
Government-wide problem that has been growing--and growing all too
silently out there--and without us doing too much about it.
The GAO reminds us every year that the same agencies year after year
appear on the high-risk list. That is the list that is compiled, as you
know, on a yearly basis to lay out the agencies that are most
susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse, overlap, duplication, and
inefficiencies. The same agencies appear year after year. Some of those
agencies are the ones being brought into this homeland security bill.
We can't afford, as we create this new Department, to incorporate the
same kinds of problems that we are seeing government-wide because the
stakes are too great. It is not just a matter of wasting a few billion
dollars of the taxpayers' money; it is a matter that could literally be
life and death. This is what this bill is all about. This is why
Senator Lieberman took the initiative. This is why the President
decided, once the strategic view was presented to him by the people he
had commissioned to look at all of this, that a homeland security
approach was needed, and that the 22 agencies out there needed to be
pulled together into one cohesive entity that could work to make our
Certainly, there are very important areas. I will not go over all of
them. Senator Lieberman has done that.
But border security, for example, has never made any sense when we
have people crossing borders, when goods cross the borders, and when
plant life crosses the borders--all of which can be dangerous to the
American people. They can cross them by water, they can cross the
borders by air, they can cross the borders by highways. All of those
things are just different aspects of the same problem. It all has to do
essentially with border security. It has never made any sense to have
all of this dispersed throughout Government.
What the President does and what the committee bill does is to pull
those in. We have different ways of doing it. We will have an
opportunity to discuss those in more detail as we proceed, but it gets
its arms around the border security problem.
A lot of experts will say if you can do much better on the border
problem, you can do better in the intelligence area, then you have gone
a long way toward solving the problem.
In the intelligence area, the President's approach is to have an
intelligence entity that will allow us to protect our infrastructure.
As you know, our infrastructure is elaborate, far-flung, and complex.
Almost all of it is in private hands. It is an extremely difficult
problem to address and to get our arms around and to protect. We can
never be totally protected at all times in all ways. It is going to
require a great deal of attention and expenditure of money by State,
local, and Federal Government over years to come.
We are going to have to address the vulnerabilities that we have. The
President's approach would set up a system to assess those
vulnerabilities in order to protect those infrastructures. The
committee's approach is a broader approach. We will have an opportunity
to discuss that.
I have concern about this broader approach because I don't think we
can address the difficulties with the intelligence community in this
bill and give it to a sub-Cabinet officer to have authority to pull all
the dots together and all the things that need to be done in the
intelligence community. We have seen, goodness knows, over the last
several months and few years the difficulties we have in those areas of
collecting intelligence, analyzing intelligence, and disseminating
intelligence properly. That, to me, is a very important area that is
going to have to be led by the President. It is going to have to be
done by the administration. I view that as somewhat separate from the
homeland security effort. But we can never mesh our entire intelligence
community into this new Department.
The analyses that we are going to need for the Homeland Security
Department are also needed by these various intelligence communities.
These are legitimate differences of view and approach that we will
have an opportunity to discuss as we proceed. But we all agree that we,
No. 1, must do much better in terms of our intelligence community and
capabilities government-wide; secondly, this new entity must have some
new intelligence entity to assist it to do what we properly decide that
it ought to be doing. We will have an opportunity to discuss that in
some more detail.
I think as we proceed we can flesh this legislation out and we can
make it even better than it is. Senator Lieberman is correct. I think
there are many things we have basic agreement on here on a bipartisan
basis. There are some serious differences of view on some important
areas--differences the majority of the committee took versus what the
President wishes to do. I think in these times the President must be
given some leeway. It is going to be a long time before we put the
final period to the last sentence of this legislation. I think it will
be changed, as many other pieces of legislation dealing with the
Department of Defense and the Transportation Department and others have
changed over the years. I think there will be amendments and changes as
we go forward. But it is important that we get off on the right foot.
It is important, for example, that we give the new Department the
management tools it needs. I have mentioned some of the problems we
have traditionally with Government and the fact that we can't afford to
bring those problems into the new Department. We can't expect to keep
doing things the same old way and get different results. We don't want
those inefficiencies, those overlaps, duplications, and waste, lost
items, and things such as that, to follow us into the Department of
Homeland Security. We can't have that happen. It won't work.
What is the answer? The answer is to give the new Department
sufficient management flexibility in order to address these issues. We
have recognized this need in times past. We have given this flexibility
in terms of hiring and firing and managing and compensating. Most of it
has to do with compensation. A lot of people will say this is anti-
employee or union-busting or what not. It has nothing to do with that.
Various agencies and the GAO came to us. The IRS came to us. The FAA
came to us. The Transportation Security Administration came to us. They
all came to us and said: Look, we either have special circumstances or
we have special problems and we need some additional tools to deal with
that. We need the right people in the right place to deal with those
In every one of those instances which I mentioned, Congress gave it
to them. Congress gave them additional flexibilities that are not
within the body of title V because we perceived those needs to be
exactly as they were described to us.
Now we are pulling 22 agencies together--some of them, quite frankly,
already dysfunctional--and giving out these new responsibilities. We
talk about how important it is to the new Department.
My question is, If we are going to give these flexibilities to these
other agencies, my goodness, why not this one, of all agencies or all
The President's national security authority must be preserved. We
have significant disagreement with regard to whether the traditional
authority that Presidents have had since President Jimmy Carter in the
national security area in terms of the justifiable need to activate
collective bargaining agreements with particular entities at particular
times, for good reason. Presidents have used this authority
judiciously. As far as I know, there has never really been a problem
This bill, as written, would take a step backwards from that
authority of the President. I don't think it is fair in these times, of
all times, to do that.
On the issue of the White House staff, should we force on the
President a Senate-confirmed person in that position when he says he is
creating a new Department and a new Secretary with all of this
elaborate mechanism, and he wants his personal person--some people make
the analogy with the National Security Council, for example, that it is
not Senate confirmed--inside the White House working for him?
I assume, as Mr. Ridge is doing today, should we not give the
President that? I believe so, after a sound intelligence approach, as I
mentioned earlier, with not too many directorates, and not making this
more elaborate and complex than we should.
Those are issues that we have. I think they are legitimate. I think
they are important. They will be the subject of amendments as we
But, again, we do not want to look at a glass that is almost full and
say that it is almost empty, because it is not. We agree on many, many
important fundamental aspects. I think it is our job to get about the
consideration of it, and to improve it, to discuss these important
issues and differences that we have, and come to a conclusion that is
going to achieve what we are all striving for; that is, a safer United
States of America.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I thank my friend and colleague from
Tennessee for his very thoughtful statement. It has been a pleasure to
work with him on the Governmental Affairs Committee, both when he led
the committee and in the time that I have. I look forward to working
with him in the weeks ahead to achieve what we all want to achieve,
notwithstanding some differences that we have today, which is to secure
the future of the American people here at home.
I know that the intention was that Senator Byrd would speak next. He
is not on the floor at the moment. I note the presence of the Senator
Mr. THOMPSON. I would ask that the Senator from Texas be given as
Mr. GRAMM. Why don't I take up to 10 minutes. Every time I have ever
heard anybody say they will not use it, they talk more. But certainly
everything I would want to say or should say or am competent to say I
can say in 10 minutes.
Mr. LIEBERMAN. Very well. Then it would be our understanding, after
the Senator from Texas has completed his statement, that Senator Byrd
will be recognized.
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
Mr. GRAMM. Mr. President, I will withhold for a moment.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, I greatly appreciate my friend from Texas
withholding. He has always been very courteous. Today is no different
than any other time.
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