Etheridge votes for passage of 9/11 bill

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) today voted for legislation to enact most of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Etheridge was the only N.C. Member of Congress on the Conference Committee that negotiated the final compromise bill. The bill now heads to the President’s desk.

“This common-sense legislation is a triumph of leadership. Homeland security begins with hometown security, and this legislation will help provide North Carolina communities with the resources to keep our families safe,” said Etheridge. “Nearly six years after September 11th, these reforms are long overdue.”

The legislation includes two provisions at Etheridge’s request to improve school security and to help schools respond to emergencies. The first provision would aim to make school buses safer by requiring the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment of school transportation and to make recommendations to Congress. The second provision would state that schools are eligible for Department of Homeland Security grants.

The legislation includes a number of steps to improve homeland security, including:

  • 100 percent screening of cargo on passenger aircraft in three years, and 100 percent scanning of containers entering by ports within five years.
  • $1.6 billion for a communications interoperability grant initiative to ensure that first responders can communicate with each other in an emergency.
  • Guidelines to help businesses prepare for emergencies.
  • Strengthening intelligence and information sharing with local law enforcement.
  • Strategies to reduce the appeal of extremism around the world.
  • The bipartisan 9/11 Commission was created by Congress to provide recommendations on preventing another terrorist attack. The recommendations were released in 2004. Congress implemented several of the recommendations in December 2004, however the Republican -controlled Congress did not implement many, and only partially implemented others.