US House passes Sept 11 resolution
WASHINGTON, Sep 14 (Reuters) The US House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed an election-year resolution commemorating the September 11, 2001, attacks and vowing to continue to fight against terrorism.
The resolution, approved on a vote of 395-22, notes actions taken by Congress and the administration following the attacks and declares that the nation is safer today than it was five years ago. It also says more work needs to be done.
''These facts are all laid out in the resolution before us,'' House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, said yesterday. ''But as important as it is to recite what we have done, it is more important for this House to assert what it intends to do.'' The resolution concludes that ''the American people will never forget the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and the loss of innocent lives that day, and will continue to fight the war on terrorism in their memory, and will never succumb to the cause of the terrorists.'' Most Democrats voted for the Republican-written resolution even though many accused the majority party of playing election-year politics. Democrats criticised references in the resolution to controversial legislation passed by the House including an immigration bill that tightens border security and makes illegal presence in the country a felony.
''I deeply regret that the resolution before the House goes needlessly beyond the necessary and appropriate sentiments for such an occasion and includes pointless boasts about the actions taken by a narrow majority of our members along with rhetoric that has been crafted deliberately to divide us,'' said Rep. Tom Lantos, a California Democrat.
Terrorism and the war in Iraq are major issues in the run-up to the November 7 congressional elections.
Opinion polls show the Iraq war to be unpopular and Democrats are widely expected to pick up seats in both the House and Senate. But Bush and congressional Republicans have tried to turn the election-year debate to national security and the threat of terrorism. Democrats argue that the Iraq war has been a distraction from the fight against terrorism and question whether America is as safe as it could be.
REUTERS VJ RN0548