The typical partisan squabbles will not occur in Congress any time soon. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have pledged unity in dealing with Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.
“I was touched by their response, their encouragement and their willingness to work together,” Bush said in a press conference Thursday. “And I would be very pleased to see a strong resolution come out of Congress supporting the administration in what we intend to do.”
Congress passed a first resolution late Wednesday night supporting President Bush, giving their condolences to victims, condemning the attacks and calling for a day of mourning.
Thursday they reconvened to debate two joint resolutions. One would allow the president to take military action, and would provide billions of dollars in emergency funding.
Bush designated Friday a national day of mourning, so Congress will not vote on any legislation until Saturday.
“We expect these resolutions will be approved unanimously on Saturday,” said Jerilyn Goodman, press secretary for Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. “There will be no votes [Friday].”
At the request of New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Bush requested Congress pass a resolution giving the emergency workers killed in the aftermath of the attacks war-casualty status so their families could receive benefits.
This legislation, called the Victims’ Relief Bill, would forgive all 2001 income taxes for all victims of the terrorist attacks and effectively cut any estate tax in half. Federal disaster benefits will be tax-free, and the bill ensured no tax applies to payments from airlines to families of passengers killed in the four crashes.
The Victims’ Relief Bill passed the House with a 418 to 0 vote and is expected to pass the Senate with similar results.
“I have been in touch with the Congress,” Bush said. “They are expediting a supplemental. We’ve got great cooperation with members of the Congress in both political parties.”
The House passed this resolution Thursday along with a measure urging Americans to fly the flag in all possible places as a sign of national solidarity.
Republicans announced an economic stimulus package in an attempt to protect the economy from falling any further. This bill would reduce the capital-gains tax on investments and business tax incentives. Republicans hope the passage of this bill will inflate the equity markets and in turn help the economy.
The stock market remains closed. It is scheduled to reopen Monday.
The resolutions proposed today are expected to pass, if not unanimously, then at least with bipartisan support. All branches of the government have declared unity and promise rapid action.
“I thought it was very swift action, and I am most appreciative again of Sen. Daschle and Rep. Gephardt, as well as my Republican colleagues, for really showing solidarity again and uniting the nation,” Bush said.
In deciding the actions the United States will take, Bush will be in close contact with Congress as well as with other branches of the government.
“I look forward to working with Congress on a variety of issues,” he said. “But now that war has been declared on us, we will lead the world to victory.”