- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

A new battle
Rep. Gary A. Condit has resurfaced this time to fight terrorism.
The California Democrat, who has spent the last four months embroiled in controversy surrounding the case of missing Washington intern Chandra Levy, is one of only four Democrats appointed to the elite House subcommittee on terrorism and homeland security.
The new subcommittee was officially empaneled late last week by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
"Speaker Hastert last January had formed a congressional working group to examine the terrorist threat," a spokesman for the House intelligence committee told Inside the Beltway yesterday, but given the tragic events of recent days, the speaker rushed to create a "full-fledged subcommittee with powers of subpoena."
Rep. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican who serves on the Armed Services subcommittee on military readiness, is chairman of the new subcommittee, which falls under the House intelligence umbrella.
Besides Mr. Chambliss and Mr. Condit, the remaining members of the subcommittee include Republican Reps. Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Ray LaHood of Illinois, Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina; and Democratic Reps. Jane Harman (ranking) of California, Tim Roemer of Indiana, and Alcee L. Hastings of Florida.

Take two
"We took him seriously, but perhaps not as seriously as we should have."
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, referring to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's warning on terrorism two years ago, expressed in the same U.S. Capitol room where Mr. Lott and Mr. Netanyahu huddled again yesterday on the very same subject.

Soldiers' sustenance
As our nation prepares to wage battle on unprecedented fronts, Congress this week is busy "giving our military men and women the tools they need to wage the war on terrorism, and win it."
So assures House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican, who pledges quick approval of those remaining spending bills for 2002, several of which suddenly have more urgency.
The National Defense Authorization Act, for example, contains the largest military pay raise since 1982, which is long overdue. More than 5,000 U.S. military families rely on food stamps, not surprising considering a private first class makes $15,684 a year in base pay, and a staff sergeant $24,552.
And as Washingtonians are increasingly concerned about future terrorist attacks on this city, Congress this week is also working to finalize the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, which provides $16 million for security planning alone.

Sneak maneuver
The National Right to Work Committee is blasting Sen. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, for brazenly "attempting to use our national crisis as cover" by sneaking a big labor bill through a mostly deserted Senate last Wednesday night.
Namely S. 952, or the "Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act," which union officials call the "largest expansion of labor [union] power Congress has considered in decades."
The NRWC claims the measure would create a new federal agency that would force state and local governments to give union bosses monopoly bargaining power over their police, firefighters, paramedics, and other public-safety officers.
"Despite the scope of this union-boss power grab, Sen. Kennedy attempted to ram it through the Senate with no vote and no debate by calling for passage by unanimous consent in a near-empty chamber," says the NRWC. "Fortunately, at least one senator was available to object, thus foiling Senator Kennedy's plan."
Jim Manley, spokesman for Mr. Kennedy, told Inside the Beltway yesterday that the timing of the NRWC's accusation is both intriguing and puzzling.
"It's a bipartisan bill authored by [New Hampshire Republican] Senator [Judd] Gregg and Senator Kennedy. We were trying to get it cleared by unanimous consent, and that we were not able to do," says Mr. Manley. "We will continue trying to get it through the Senate as quickly as possible."
The bill is particularly important in the wake of the terrorist acts on the nation, Mr. Manley stresses.
"It is a morale booster for police and firemen dealing with the crisis up in New York," he notes. "It just so happens we had marked it up [for Senate action] a couple weeks ago. The bill enjoys broad bipartisan support."

American pie
The Ritz-Carlton in Washington is attaching apple pies to its expressions of sympathy to families and friends of those injured or lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Explains Ritz-Carlton General Manager James McBride: "Nothing is more American or comforting than a freshly baked apple pie."

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