President Bush has met with some of the U.S. government employees who are expected to be part of the new department of Homeland Security he has proposed. Mr. Bush said there will be difficult adjustments as the new department is created, but he said it will make the country safer.
President Bush is asking federal employees to back his new Department of Homeland Security, which will replace the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Customs, the Coast Guard and Border Patrol.
President Bush said he is pushing for the biggest government reorganization in more than 50 years to make the nation safer. "At present, there are over 100 different federal agencies with a role in what we call Homeland Security. And that means, despite everybody's best intentions and hard work and sacrifice, there is a dispersal of authority, a lack of accountability, and the truth of the matter is, a needless drain on critical resources," Mr. Bush said.
The president spoke to several thousand federal employees in Washington Wednesday who work for agencies that will be part of the new department.
He told them he understands there will be some difficult adjustments in making the change but it is part of what he calls "an overriding and urgent mission" to protect the nation from terrorist attack.
"We have been called into action, and we've got to act. The Department of Homeland Security will foster a new culture in the nation's capital. It will be a culture of cooperation. Sure, there is cooperation now, but when you've got a 100 agencies dispersed throughout Washington, we can do a better job," he said.
The president said the new department will give federal workers new tools to meet the new challenges of the war against terrorism and the need to protect America's borders.
Mr. Bush met with Congressional leaders Wednesday and urged them to move quickly to pass legislation establishing the new department. Several committees in the House of Representatives are getting a bill ready for a possible vote next week. Senate leaders say they intend to bring a bill to the floor before their August recess.