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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Tom Ridge Speaks After Meeting With President Bush

Aired June 11, 2002 - 10:43   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.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go live to the White House. We're hearing from Tom Ridge; also from the Congressional leaders who just met with President Bush. Let's listen in.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIR.: The support, there's a unanimity among the members of Congress and the president and the vice president that this is not about politics; this is about securing America. This is about trying to set a reasonable timetable, recognizing that there's a great deal of hard work that needs to be done. And I can just say on behalf of the president to express, once again publicly, his appreciation for the extraordinary demonstration of support and the willingness to one, understand there's still a lot of hard work that needs to be done. This is a very important legislative matter.

There are committees of jurisdiction that for years have overseen the various department of agencies that we're trying to restructure and cobble together to reorganize part of the executive branch to make us safer and more secure as we combat the new threat of the 21st century. But understanding that there's a great deal of hard work to be done by the members on the Hill, it's even more revealing and refreshing to note that the leadership of both parties and of both chambers are going to do everything they can to work with the president and this administration to move the process along as quickly as possible.

Let the voices be heard on the Hill be heard, working with the executive branch to accomplish this very important task as soon as possible. So I just wanted to begin this meeting, or this public meeting, with members of the House and the Senate to express, again, on behalf of the president his deepest appreciation for their extraordinary effort to date. We look forward to working with him. As you know I've been directed to testify. I think we will let the leadership on both chambers work over the next several days the order of testimony and when and where, but the president wants to reiterate our commitment to working with the Congressional leader in both parties in order to get the job done. I will defer now to the Speaker.

KAGAN: We're listening to Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. He's coming out with members of Congress. You can see House Speaker there, Dennis Hastert. Men there from both the Senate and the House side and also from both political parties. They have just been meeting with President Bush. President Bush, who had been really pushing and suggesting a major restructuring of the federal government. He realized that he must go through Congress today, just one of the handouts -- one of the reaching out to Congress to try to make that happen, recognizing there are committees that have jurisdiction over some of the ideas that President Bush would like to change.

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