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US Congress Examines Measures to Prevent Future Attacks - 2001-09-13

The U.S. Congress spent Wednesday condemning Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and at the Pentagon in Washington. But they also began considering ways to prevent such attacks from happening again.

Republicans and Democrats spoke with one voice Wednesday as they vowed to work together to fight terrorism. "Our nation must now rise from the ashes of this devastation as we review our nation's anti-terrorism policies," says Republican Congressman Ben Gilman of the International Relations Committee. "We must use all means available to ensure that such a massacre never be repeated."

"This Congress in a nonpartisan way will work as hard as humanly possible to make sure that our people have the safety they demand and deserve, and that terror is defeated completely and finally," stated Dick Gephardt, Democratic House Minority Leader.

Lawmakers who had been engaged in partisan battles in recent days over the shrinking budget surplus, pledged to approve the necessary funding to increase anti-terrorism efforts. They said they are considering proposals to bolster security at the nation's airports and deploy U.S. marshalls on commercial flights on a random basis.

The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Democrat Bob Graham of Florida, called for streamlining U.S. intelligence agencies by focusing on four priorities, "increasing our ability to eavesdrop through strengthening the national security agency, increasing our human intelligence so that we will have greater capability of getting inside terrorist cells, increasing our ability to analyze the information that is made available, and a more aggessive research and development program so that our intelligence agencies can continue in their tradition in leading the world in new knowledge."

Many lawmakers also vowed to support President Bush's request for $20 billion to find and punish those responsible for Tuesday's attacks.

House Appropriations Chairman Bill Young said he will introduce the measure on the House floor Thursday. He said he hopes the House and Senate pass it late in the day.