In a recent letter to the editor, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, incorrectly wrote that "an anonymous Republican hold" had prevented swift passage of legislation implementing two treaties, one on nuclear and radiological terrorism and another on preventing nuclear proliferation ("Nuclear terrorism bill delay unwarranted," Sept. 20).
I agree with Mr. Leahy that swift implementation of those treaties is important to national security. However, the legislation passed by the House of Representatives and fast-tracked by the Senate Democratic leadership is flawed. It not only includes a drafting error that requires an amendment to ensure proper implementation, but it fails to include important provisions that were in President Obama's proposal for implementing the treaties.
Those provisions include the imposition of the death penalty for nuclear terrorism and related offenses, wiretap authorization for investigating those offenses and authorization of the prosecution of financiers and others who support terrorists who commit those offenses. Each provision is important to national security. The decision by the House of Representatives and Senate majority to exclude them is troubling.
I sought expedited approval of the House-passed legislation implementing the treaties subject to an amendment that would correct the drafting error and add the other provisions important to national security. The bill and my amendment cleared the Republican side of the Senate and are stalled on the Democratic side. Senate Democrats and the House of Representatives should move this legislation, with my amendment, quickly and present it to the president for his signature.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY
Ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee
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