Congressman Sherman Remarks on Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations
œI would like to thank Speaker Pelosi and our leadership for putting together an outstanding bill, and thank Mr. Lantos and the leadership of our committee for provisions within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
œI expect to be the chair of the subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee that deals with terrorism and nonproliferation, and I want to focus on those matters in my short presentation here today.
œThe most important issue facing the United States, and certainly the most important part of this bill, deals with preventing nuclear attack on American cities. Since a nuclear bomb is about the size of a person, it could be smuggled into the United States inside a bale of marijuana. Now, I know that this bill will deal with port security, but we cannot expect our ports or our borders to be airtight. The key is preventing the worst people from getting their hands on the worst weapons. This bill implements several provisions that will be helpful in that regard.
œFirst, it authorizes all funds necessary for the Nunn-Lugar program to help Russia get security control over its thousands of arguably excessively loose nukes, the weapons left over from the Cold War.
œSecond, it authorizes all funds necessary for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative that gets control of the 20 tons of highly enriched uranium at various nuclear reactor sites around the world, many of them unsecured.
œBut I want to emphasize, this bill only authorizes funds and it will be meaningless unless we appropriate the funds. I look forward to an appropriation bill that does just that as quickly as possible.
œThis bill imposes sanctions limiting the sale of U.S. weapons to those who provide centrifuges to Iran. I hope the administration will be able to report to us before they send the F-16s that Pakistan has verifiably and permanently halted its aid to the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
œThis bill will do a lot, but we have to do more to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the worst hands.
œThe bill also contains important provisions dealing with public diplomacy and youth education.
œI think that the United States should print the textbooks for the poorest nations in the world. In doing so, we can help parents in countries who are so poor that they make only a dollar a day or less who are required to provide textbooks for their kids or their kids cant go to school.
At the same time, we can assure American taxpayers that our dollars are being spent to help kids and not to teach hate. So I look forward to a foreign aid bill that focuses on the textbook needs of those in the poorest countries in the world.