Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) Holds Press Conference

Aired October 31, 2001 - 10:37   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: As promised, the House Minority Leader Deck Gephardt -- Dick Gephardt, rather, at the microphone to talk about aviation security in a measure before the House.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Good morning.

I want to thank the pilots, flight attendants and members of Congress who are here united in support of strong aviation security for all Americans.

The country is on a high state of alert, and the United States is six weeks -- almost seven weeks -- from the largest aviation disaster in our history, but we still, to date, have not passed any legislation to make our people safer when they fly.

We've watched Americans, who have felt uncertain and insecure when they pass through security, board the plane and sit in their seats. I've seen, with my own eyes, people in the seats behind me who were forming vigilante committees in case terrorists happened to appear on the flight. I've read stories about people forgetting to check their weapons and screeners who failed to stop them. And I'm baffled. I'm baffled that the House still hasn't brought up, let alone pass, strong security legislation for all Americans.

We need to pass a good bill tomorrow and get it to the president.

(APPLAUSE)

We need to strengthen airline security for all of the people, and we will start this task with a bipartisan bill in the House that puts federal law enforcement officers in charge of security at all airports. Almost all Americans strongly support this approach. And the pilots and flight attendants across this country have come together behind this measure because they understand that the time to act is now.

I was on a flight from Dulles to San Francisco last Friday. I was in my seat when a flight attendant handed me a note from the pilot. I have that note right here. The note asks for help from the Congress to increase security in the skies and make passengers safer. The pilot was asking us to act, to make him safer, to make the passengers safer, to make the system safer.

I have received a note from every pilot of every plane I've been on since September 11. These people -- the flight attendants, the baggage people, the pilots -- have acted in the highest sense of security and patriotism, but they need help now from the United States Congress to make this safe, and we're going to get it done tomorrow.

(APPLAUSE)

Pilots and flight attendants should not be worried about safety. Passengers should not be worried about safety. We need to do this.

Before I introduce our guest, I want to show everyone an article in today's Wall Street Journal. A lot of people have said to me, "What's going on here? Why can't you get this bill done? Why is there disagreements?" Well, the bill says, "Airline security industry fights for its life."

What's going on here is the companies that have these contracts -- the lowest bidders -- don't want to give up the contracts, and so they've hired expensive Washington lobbyists to come lobby the administration and the Congress so they can hang on to their contracts. Well, they failed their contracts, and it's time to put them out of their contracts and get federal law enforcement to do this job.

(APPLAUSE)

HEMMER: Dick Gephardt, the House Minority Leader, letting out his claim on the bill before the House. We do anticipate a vote tomorrow on aviation security, and once again it should be pointed out there is an awful lot of agreement between the Senate and the House and Republicans and Democrats and the White House as well, but there is one sticking point. And that has to do with the screeners at America's airports. Should they be federal employees, or should they just be supervised by the federal government? The White House says they prefer the latter. Democrats for the large part, for the most part, anyway, in the Senate agreed that indeed they should be federal employees. That's the point that is holding things up at this point.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top