Capitalizing on their newfound political momentum, House Democrats are expected to submit a legislative package Friday that would bolster funding to regions at highest risk of terror attack like New York and provide more money for first responders.So much for the bogus Republican narrative that Democrats are weak on terror. Hopefully the Democrats will do a good job of pointing out how they're the ones taking real action while the Republicans just posture and take away civil liberties.
Doing an end-run around the normal committee process, Democrats say they will force an up-or-down vote on the floor Tuesday, to fulfill their promise to pass the outstanding recommendations from the 9/11 Commission in their first 100 hours.
Among other things, the package sets timetables for more rigorous screening of air and ship cargo. It would also strengthen efforts to curb proliferation of materials that could be used to build nuclear weapons or "dirty" bombs, and would prohibit aid to countries that do not cooperate.
"Under Democratic leadership, the House is now taking long-overdue steps to close the dangerous air cargo security loophole that has left airline passengers and crew members vulnerable to another deadly terrorist attack," said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Homeland Security Committee. "We are also going to plug the wide open loophole through which thousands of containers are arriving in U.S. ports without first being screened overseas."
I dare the Republicans to try to shoot this down - there's no bigger gift they could give the Democrats. I guess they could carp that it doesn't go far enough, but what would that say about them that they didn't go as far in six years as the Democrats went in six days?
More likely that they'll try to hog all the credit for it, saying it just expands on the groundwork they laid down, and that they created the atmosphere for serious thinkage about such things, and that they would have proposed the exact same thing if they had retained control of Congress. I'm sure the media would willingly go along, and we'd see a whole bunch of tsk-tsk-y op-eds about how unseemly it is for the Democrats to take credit for riding on the Republicans' bold and resolute coattails.
The story saves the best for last, though:
The Republican minority, meanwhile, is chafing at the Democrats' attempt to bypass the normal committee process.Yes, you heard that right - the Republicans are whining about anti-terror legislation being rammed through without giving anyone time to review it. Delicious.
"To legislate all of this in one afternoon or one evening, when no one in the House will know the nuances, trivializes the importance of the issues," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and now its ranking Republican.