Families of September 11 is now operating as the For Action Initiative. The web pages on this site are available for informational purposes only. Please visit us at www.foractioninitiative.org.

September 27, 2004

Dear FOS11 Members and Friends:

Congress has reached a critical point for action on the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations.

In the next few days, committees in the House of Representatives will debate (“mark up”) and finalize language of a bill which incorporates the recommended reforms. It would appear that the proposed House bill contains potentially controversial provisions that are not central to the Commission's 41 core recommendations. Unless these highly-charged provisions are stripped from the bill during markup, too many Members of the House will vote against the bill. Even if such a bill were to pass the House, the controversial provisions would likely be unacceptable to the Senate, thereby scuttling the chances of a unified reform bill to present to the President. In either case, all of the 9/11 Commission's efforts will be undone. Without critical reforms, we will be nearly as vulnerable as we were on September 11th.

The goal is to have a House bill that is “clean” of extra provisions and closely matches the proposed Senate bills such as the bipartisan Collins/Lieberman and McCain/Lieberman.

To help keep Congress focused, we are urging you to call your Representative and your Senators. Forward this alert to others who are interested in improving our national security -- especially in other parts of the country -- and urge them to call as well. (Talking points follow.)

To find your Senators and Representative go to http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov.

In addition, please call the Leaders of the House to urge their members to work with bipartisan cooperation and collaboration to produce a clean bill which is true to the 41 core recommendations. The bill should be unencumbered by extraneous or controversial add-ons which merit separate debate.

Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House (202) 225-2976
Tom DeLay, House Republican Leader (202) 225-5951
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader (202) 225-4965

House Committee members to call: if you can’t call them all, please pick one or two.

Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Don Young (202) 225-5765
James L. Oberstar, Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-6211

Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (202) 225-5101
John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-5126

Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (202) 225-1492
Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-3976

Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (202) 225-4401
Jane Harman, Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-8220

Financial Services Chairman Michael G. Oxley (202) 225-2676
Barney Frank Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-5931

International Relations Chairman Henry J. Hyde (202) 225-4561
Tom Lantos, Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-3531

Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (202) 225-5672
Ike Skelton, Ranking Minority Member (202) 225-2876

Talking Points When You Call:

1) Reform Legislation should be clean and straightforward, based on the 41 core recommendations of the 9/11 Commission with no extraneous, unrelated provisions such as those closely aligned with the Patriot Act.

2)  In the few days remaining, the priority of Congress should be to work cooperatively in a bipartisan, collegial way to pass legislation to make our nation safer. Political maneuvering has no place in a discussion of our national security.

3)  Our Senators and Representatives cannot claim to have fulfilled their obligation to make our country safer unless both Houses, prior to adjournment, jointly agree on legislation which is then sent to the President to sign. Separate House and Senate bills will not make us safer. Only joint legislation that is signed into law can do that.

4)  Nearly 3,000 people are dead as a result of systemic failures in our security network. Today, September 26, it has been 1,110 days since 9/11; 634 days since the release of the JICI Report; 65 days since the release of the 9/11 Commission Report. There are 13 days left for the 108th Congress to act in a responsible manner to correct the failures identified by the Commission.

5)  The final House bill language should closely mirror the Senate language.

Also note that following is an open letter which the Families Steering Committee will deliver to members of the House.


September 27, 2004

Dear Members of the 108th Congress:

The time for this Congress to fulfill its obligation to the Nation will expire in just a few days.

The task facing you to implement the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations is historic. This Congress must rise above politics by enacting legislation that is true to the core reforms recommended by the Commission. This is the only conscionable response to the September 11th tragedy.

Such legislation should be unencumbered by language or amendments containing extraneous provisions or extending/expanding the Patriot Act. The latter, in particular, deserves separate debate.

Congress must work with the 9/11 Commission to make America safer. The 9/11 families, along with millions of Americans, are watching to see what you do.

We therefore ask you to join the Shays/Maloney Bipartisan 9/11 Commission Caucus and to immediately inform your House colleagues on the markup Committees that you oppose the provisions currently encumbering the proposed House bill.


September 11th Families and Supporters

PLEASE NOTE: The Family Steering Committee will compile and post on its website a “Report Card” on each Member's position on these urgent matters. We will provide you with this valuable link.