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Senate 9/11 Bill Snagged Once Again

March 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, Senators approved an amendment to make the collective bargaining rights, given to TSA officers in the 9/11 bill, “waiveable” in emergency security situations. The Senators who voted for this amendment did so primarily to make the overall bill, which implements the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, more palatable to the President, who is threatening a veto.

With that issue partially resolved, a couple more seem to have come up. Subscription-only Congress Daily:

>One of the biggest stumbling blocks involves a dispute over an amendment by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would address disaster assistance to Louisiana. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., placed a hold on her amendment, prompting Landrieu to put a hold on several other amendments, according to aides.

Putting holds on amendments will deepen the divisions that have formed over this already highly controversial bill. Families of Sept. 11 victims today are calling for a “clean bill,” to increase its chances at passage. Whether or not Senators heed their advice, their plea for a “clean” bill comes too late, as several controversial amendments have already been approved in the past week and a half of debate on the bill.

Congress Quarterly points out another new and controversial amendment being presented, and the reaction of 9/11 victims’ families:

>On Wednesday, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, [pictured at right] introduced an amendment merging several Republican proposals, along with provisions to criminalize the recruitment of terrorists, prolong the time the Homeland Security Department can detain “dangerous aliens,” and authorize the deportation of suspected terrorists whose visas are revoked. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took the unusual step of filing a petition to limit debate on the amendment, forcing a vote by Friday.
>A letter to McConnell, R-Ky., signed by leaders of two September 11 family groups — Voices of September 11 and Families of September 11 — expressed “grave concern that your recent introduction of highly provocative, irrelevant amendments will jeopardize the passage” of the bill.

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