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America Under Attack: Congress Speaks About Meeting With President

Aired September 12, 2001 - 12:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Members of Congress, let me break quickly here, met with the president, and they are speaking now.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: .. people are out there trying to save lives. The workers, rescue workers and all those folks that are around-the-clock, doing their very best. Of course our sympathies are with the families, all those who have been victims of this terrible, terrible act.

Now is the time for government to move forward. We are in complete agreement that we will work together, that we want to share information, that we will be ready to move on whatever the president suggests. And we will get through the debate, and the actions of Congress in a bipartisan way to make that happen.

But as we said last night, when somebody takes this country for granted, when it violates the people of this nation, and the sovereignty and freedom of this nation, this Congress stands united, shoulder to shoulder to do the right thing to stand up for America, and do the legislative work and process that we need to do, and we confirmed that with the president today.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D), MAJORITY LEADER: On a bipartisan basis, I think it is accurate to say that we literally and figuratively stand shoulder to shoulder in our appreciation of the job ahead. It is to help the victims, to care for the families and punish those responsible.

With a single-mindedness of that appreciation we began our work this afternoon, on a united bipartisan, bicameral basis we will be passing a strongly worded resolution this afternoon. We will work with the administration to allocate resources, and to dedicate whatever strategy may be required to fulfill our obligations. It is our strong desire to do this not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans. We will continue to demonstrate that desire as we consider whatever other actions may be required in days ahead.

HASTERT: Thank you.

DASCHLE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: The congressional leadership having met with the president coming out to talk briefly with the press. First the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, followed by Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Democrat Tom Daschle.

Kate Snow joins us now from Washington. Kate good afternoon.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Aaron. We heard echoed there much what we've been hearing ever since yesterday when Congressional leaders started to come out and talk with us and say, look, we are united, we stand behind our president, we're going to give him the support he needs.

House members have been filing in while they've been talking, filing in behind me here into the chamber. They are about to get a briefing as we speak from the FBI director Mr. Mueller, and also from Attorney General John Ashcroft. The FEMA director, Joe Allbaugh had also talked about coming to brief Congress, we imagine he may be here as well. They are having these briefings behind closed doors, all members of the house, inside the House chamber being briefed. That FEMA briefing will be especially important, Aaron.

One of the big questions looming on Capitol Hill, although people would rather not have to discuss this, a big question will be how to pay for everything you see going on in new York, at the Pentagon, Pennsylvania. Who will pay for all of this.

I talked to the Budget Committee Chairman of the House, Jim Nussle, just a few moments ago. He tells me, it's not likely they will give the president a blank check. But on the other hand there is unanimous support, bipartisan support, to help the president with what he needs, to give the money needed to help with immediate needs, with recovery, with rescue, with rebuilding perhaps parts of the Pentagon.

Democrats, some of them, are cautioning they will be a little cautious about giving over too much, and destroying the budget of the government. There was a lot of discussion about the U.S. Government's budget before all of this happened.

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