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US Congress to Support President Bush's Requests - 2001-09-14


The U.S. Congress is moving ahead with legislative response to Tuesday's deadly terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Lawmakers hope to approve by the end of the week a $40 billion anti-terrorism package that President Bush has requested.

Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert said, "We need to move it. We need to show the American people we can get this done."

Mr. Bush initially asked for $20 billion, but doubled the amount of the request after meeting with New York lawmakers at the White House.

Mr. Hastert, who surveyed damage at the Pentagon earlier Thursday, said the spending bill would likely be the first installment in paying for recovery efforts and tougher anti-terrorism efforts. "As stories come out, and people understand that [the] two towers [of the World Trade Center] fell, and then more buildings are condemned, to walk through the Pentagon and see what we have to do, it is just monumental," he said.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are also working on a resolution giving the president the authority to use military force against those found to be responsible for Tuesday's attacks.

Although Mr. Bush argues he has the Constitutional authority to respond to the attacks, he sought a resolution as a show of Congressional unity.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt said Mr. Bush would get bipartisan support. "We want to give him the tools he needs, and his administration needs, to deal with this problem," he said. "We are behind that, and we are for that."

Some lawmakers would like a formal declaration of war against the terrorists, but most believe that would be going too far. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden says such declarations should only apply to nation-states, not terrorist groups.