Bass, Bradley Part of GOP Failure on Port Security

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: NH Democratic Party, (603) 225-6899

BASS, BRADLEY PART OF GOP FAILURES ON PORT SECURITY

CONCORD, NH - Congressman Bass and Congressman Bradley have been an active part of the Republican Party's record of failure on port security, which culminated this week in George Bush's decision to sell-off control of our nation's ports to a company from the United Arab Emirates.

President Bush recently allowed the sale of a British company to the United Arab Emirates - one of three countries in the world that recognizes the terrorist-run Taliban as the true government of Afghanistan, prompting significant public outcry.

"Since September 11, our government has had the clear and pressing responsibility to secure our ports. But the Republicans who have controlled Congress and the White House - including Charlie Bass and Jeb Bradley -- have failed at every step of that mission," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan.

"Congressmen Bass and Bradley have voted their party line against more funding for port security time and time again - and now, their party is outsourcing our national security to a country used by the 9/11 hijackers as an operational and financial base. We can and must do better to keep our country secure."


*** FACT SHEET ON PORT SECURITY ****

BASS, BRADLEY OPPOSED A VOTE ON AN AMENDMENT TO ADD $250 MILLION FOR PORT SECURITY GRANTS: Congressmen Bass and Bradley both voted for the motion to sustain the ruling of the chair upholding the Young, R-Fla., point of order against the Obey, D-Wis., amendment that would add $2.5 billion for homeland security, including $800 million for first responder grants, $250 million for port security grants, and $150 million for research to develop capabilities against chemical weapons. [HR 1559, Vote #104, 4/3/03]

BASS, BRADLEY VOTED AGAINST INCREASED PORT SECURITY. In 2005, Bass and Braldey voted against an alternative Homeland Security Authorization proposal that would commit $41 billion to securing the nation from terrorist threats - $6.9 billion more than the President's budget. The proposal called for an additional $400 million in funding for port security, including $13 million to double the number of new overseas port inspectors provided for in the President's budget. The proposal addressed the holes in securing the nation's ports by requiring DHS to develop container security standards, integrate container security pilot projects, and examine ways to integrate container inspection equipment and data. Currently DHS, has three very similar container security pilot projects that are not coordinated in any fashion, resulting in wasted money and redundant efforts. Finally, the plan required DHS to conduct a study of the risk factors associated with the port of Miami and ports in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. The alternative plan failed, 196-230. [HR 1817, Roll Call #187, 5/18/05; Committee on Homeland Security Minority Office, <
http://www.house.gov/hsc/democrats/>;]

BACKGROUND ON THE U.A.E: The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the other two. The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia. According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system. Finally, after 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden's bank accounts.

WHY PORT SECURITY MATTERS: U.S. seaports handle over 95% of our nation's foreign trade worth over $1 trillion a year. A weapon of mass destruction detonated in a container at a seaport could cause tremendous numbers of casualties, and an estimated economic loss ranging from $58 billion to $1 trillion. The 9/11 Commission report concluded that terrorist have the "opportunity to do harm as great or greater in maritime and surface transportation" than the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that ports will have to spend $5.4 billion over 10 years to maintain a basic level of security.