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US Lawmakers Tour 'Ground Zero' New York - 2001-10-01


More than 100 members of the U.S. Congress toured so-called "ground zero," on Monday, the site where New York's World Trade Center complex used to be.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert and minority leader Richard Gephardt led the bipartisan group. Many agreed that, as bad as the scene appears on television and in news photos, it looks even worse in person. Heavy equipment is in almost constant motion removing debris, stopping only when another body is found.

Republican Speaker Hastert told reporters that there are thousands of stories of courage and sacrifice involving emergency workers and ordinary New Yorkers and that Congress must do no less. "We will work, we will come back to New York again to see this town full of people and to see this town rise back from the ashes that we saw today," the speaker said.

Mr. Hastert's comments were echoed by Democrat Richard Gephardt, the minority leader in the House. "We will help New York and our whole country recover and be better than we have ever been," the congressman said. "We will bring the perpetrators to justice and see to it that that is done."

The U.S. Congress has already authorized $40 billion in aid for New York City and other areas affected by the terrorist attacks. But some New York officials say more help may be needed in the future. The aftermath of the attacks has included the loss of thousands of jobs and a general business slowdown that will substantially reduce state and local tax revenues.

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