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Bush Urges Congress to OK Homeland Security Agency - 2002-06-08

President Bush is repeating his request for Congress to establish a new federal agency to oversee homeland security. He says the cabinet-level post will be responsible for confronting chemical, biological, or nuclear threats.

President Bush stresses that the new Department of Homeland Security will unite essential government agencies that he says must work more closely together to protect against another terrorist attack.

They include Customs and Immigration, the Coast Guard and Border Patrol, and the Secret Service. The largest government reorganization in more than 50 years requires congressional approval.

In his weekly radio address, the president asked Americans to lobby their legislators in support of the new agency which will be responsible for border and transportation security, emergency response and analysis of intelligence reports on terrorist threats.

"All in our government have learned a great deal since September the 11, and we must act on every lesson," he said. "We are stronger and better prepared today than we were on that terrible morning. And with your help, and the support of the Congress, we will be stronger still."

The new agency will have 170,000 employees drawn from eight existing departments including Justice, Transportation, and Commerce.