INTERNATIONAL

9/11 panel chief warns against delaying intelligence Bill

Washington, Nov.29. : The Chairman of the September 11,2001 Commission has warned Congress that it "risks lives" if the intelligence reform measures fails to clear Capitol Hill by the time this session formally closes next month.Thomas Kean the Chair of the 9/11 federal panel and former Republican Governor of New Jersey has argued that the safety of American cannot wait for law makers to take months to pass the legislation.

The intelligence reform measure stalled in the House after the Speaker Dennis Hastert refused to present the bill for a vote in the House of Representatives finding that the Republican conservative majority would not back the measure.The bill would have cleared the House given the Democrats� support but Mr.Hastert saw the political implications in having a bill clearing his chamber without a majority of the Republicans behind it.

Under the rules all unfinished business of this 108th Congress will lapse when the session formally winds up next month and it is left to the 109th Congress to start all over again--literally from scratch to get this intelligence reform bill through.And the process will have to start at the Committee stages in both the House and in the Senate.

Mr.Kean has said that he is optimistic that the legislation will clear Congress but "the question is whether it will pass now or after the second attack",he said stressing the point that it would take six months for the new Congress to convene and starting the process all over again.

There are two contentious issues that Republicans want addressed before they will sign off.One has to do with the tightening of immigration laws that prevent illegals from getting driver�s licenses;and the other has to do with the military having unfettered access to intelligence information and implement it on the battlefield.

The feeling among promient law makers is that the White House would have to do more in clearing this intelligence reform bill in Congress and that if the President really wants this bill he will have it. "If the President of the United States wants this bill,as commander in chief in the middle of a war,I cannot believe Republicans in the House are going to stop him from getting it",remarked Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman.

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