House passes antiterror measure
By WASHINGTON POST
Published January 10, 2007
WASHINGTON - In a lopsided vote that masked underlying divisions, the House approved legislation Tuesday to implement many of the remaining recommendations of the 9/11 Commission even as portions of the sprawling package faced immediate problems in the Senate.
Voting 299-128, Democrats, backed by scores of Republicans, delivered on a key part of their "100 hours" agenda. The nearly 300-page antiterrorism measure sets new mandates to scrutinize air- and ship-borne cargo, send more federal aid to areas at the greatest risk of terrorism, improve emergency communications, fight nuclear proliferation overseas and strengthen a civil liberties watchdog board.
But critics questioned the cost and feasibility of new cargo requirements - raising issues that helped stall action by the previous, Republican-controlled Congress - and industry and the Department of Homeland Security added their opposition. The greatest skepticism focused on requirements that airlines be able to physically inspect 100 percent of cargo put aboard passenger planes within three years and that shippers scan 100 percent of U.S.-bound cargo for radiation at overseas ports in five years.
The bill's biggest detractor, or patron, could be Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who chairs the Senate's Homeland Security panel and who held his own hearing Tuesday. He stopped short of promising - as House leaders had - to implement all remaining recommendations of the commission that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The Bush administration also formally opposed several elements of the House bill, saying in a statement that it could not support the measure as drafted, but stopping short of a veto threat.
[Last modified January 10, 2007, 01:32:00]
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