While the Government Accountability Office has given President Barack Obama's so-called national security team poor marks in preparation for attacks on the U.S. involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, an important piece of legislation languishes in both houses of Congress.
Instead, the White House and the U.S. Congress succeeded in achieving one more power grab by passing a law that will effect every American in the guise of protecting them from "greedy Wall Street fat cats."
U.S. Congressmen Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Peter T. King (R-NY), a ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, had introduced The WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010 (H.R. 5498). This legislation will make progress toward implementing the recommendations of the WMD Commission and will improve U.S. efforts to prevent, deter, detect, and respond to an attack by a weapon of mass destruction, according to Pascrell and King.
Calling the legislation a "comprehensive approach to improving America's biodefense capabilities," WMD Commission Chair, Sen. Bob Graham, and Vice-Chair, Sen. Jim Talent, had both endorsed the bill.
In a joint statement, Sens. Graham and Talent said: "Moving this bill quickly through the legislative process, and to the President's desk for signature, will be an incredibly important step in improving America's biodefense posture. This legislation reaches across many committees and agency jurisdictions. Our years of experience in Congress tell us this bill will require vigorous support from Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle. We pledge our full support, and will work closely with Congressional leadership, Members, and staff during the legislative process."
Rep. Pascrell said: "The WMD Commission has told us that almost nine years after 9/11 we still do not have a comprehensive national strategy to counter the grave threat that weapons of mass destruction pose to our nation. I am very proud we have the endorsement of the Commission for our bipartisan legislation. The WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2010 we introduced today is in fact an extensive blueprint to address the greatest catastrophic risk we face and we are dedicated to getting it implemented."
Rep. King said: "The WMD Commission has offered the sobering finding that a WMD attack is 'likely' to occur somewhere in the world by 2013, something that Senators Graham and Talent reiterated in April when they testified before the Homeland Security Committee. Public reports from former intelligence community officials indicate that Al-Qaeda is seeking to acquire or develop WMDs, which they surely would seek to use against the U.S. This legislation will enhance America's capabilities to protect American lives from such a WMD attack. I am happy to have partnered with Bill Pascrell on this legislation."
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, said: "This is a monumental day for the people of New York and Americans all across this country, who have waited far too long for a comprehensive approach to protecting our nation against weapons of mass destruction. The bill addresses every stage of the threat – from pre-event prevention and deterrence through to post-event recovery, and will strengthen our capabilities to address biological attacks. I want to thank former Senators Jim Talent and Bob Graham for their work on the WMD Commission. Their service and dedication to protecting each and every American from the threat of terrorism is truly commendable."
Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology, said: "The safety of the American people is paramount and there is no greater threat than an extremist with a weapon of mass destruction. I, along with all my colleagues on the Homeland Security Committee, will do everything I can to make sure these weapons do not fall into the hands of people whose only wish is to destroy, maim and disrupt our way of life."
"Since the election cycle is soon to begin, you can be sure the Democrats will want to put this bill on the back burner. They're more interested in legislation that increases federal power while making them look like heroes. WMD legislation doesn't seem to satisfy that criteria," said political strategist Mike Baker.