- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

Democrats are challenging Republicans to put politics aside as they craft a resolution commemorating the anniversary of September 11, but also are accusing the majority party of making the country less safe in the five years since the terrorist attacks.

“Today, we are still living in a state of homeland insecurity,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. “That is really what the Bush administration has as a legacy five years after 9/11.”

Leaders from both parties will temporarily put their differences aside and unite for a Capitol Hill ceremony Monday evening to mark the anniversary.

“September 11th is not a time for politics,” said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. He went on to outline his view of Republican security failures.

“September 11th is a time for remembering and resolve,” he said. “On September 12th, frankly, we can, in my opinion, talk about the things that I am talking about today.”

Republicans, meanwhile, plan to use their record on terrorism issues as they fight to hold onto power this fall.

On Wednesday they will offer a resolution honoring September 11 as a day of remembrance, Republican aides said. The resolution, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Times, says that the American people “will continue to fight the war on terrorism” and “will never succumb to the cause of the terrorists.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California this week told Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois the draft she had seen “injects controversial political issues” and praises congressional legislation “that was highly controversial on a bipartisan basis.”

The objectionable clauses include lauding “legislative accomplishments” such as the USA Patriot Act, the passage of the House’s strict border enforcement-only plan in 2005 and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans say similar clauses were included in past resolutions, and in 2002 lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution that said President Bush had signed “numerous laws providing additional resources for the overseas effort against terrorism, as well as additional tools” for U.S. law enforcement.

In 2004, the House voted 406-16 for a resolution that championed “innovative programs” that have secured the nation and applauded the capture of Saddam Hussein. Neither resolution mentioned the Patriot Act.

Mrs. Pelosi asked the speaker to model the resolution after last year’s version, which said the House would take “whatever actions necessary to identify, intercept and disrupt terrorists.”

Republicans balked at the Democratic requests.

“Democrats seem to care more about the November elections and risk offending the memories of those who were murdered on 9/11 than work with us in a bipartisan way,” said Ron Bonjean, a spokesman for Mr. Hastert.

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