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Bush, Democrats push for security plan

Bush, Democrats push for security plan

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush urged Congress Saturday to move ahead quickly with his plans to restructure U.S. homeland security efforts.

In his weekly radio address, Bush touted the proposed creation of a Department of Homeland Security as the most extensive government reorganization since the 1940s, when President Truman helped form what would become the Defense Department and the National Security Council.

"President Truman's reforms are still helping us to fight terror abroad, and now we need similar dramatic reforms to secure our people at home," Bush said.

The president called on Americans to encourage their representatives to support his homeland security plan.

"We face an urgent need, and we must move quickly, this year, before the end of the congressional session," he said.

The proposed Cabinet-level department would bring together several agencies including the Coast Guard and Border Patrol, immigration authorities, the U.S. Customs Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It would not include the FBI or the CIA, but would work closely with both intelligence agencies.

"Analysts will be responsible for imagining the worst, and planning to counter it," Bush said.

The president's effort comes on the heels of joint congressional hearings into possible intelligence failures leading up to September 11.

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri called, in the Democrats' weekly radio address, for legislation to establish the new Homeland Security Department by the anniversary of the attacks.

Gephardt said he was "heartened" by the president's plan, which he said is similar to proposals he and others have made since last fall.

He proposed the September 11 deadline as a tribute to the people who died in the terror attacks. He also promoted a wide-ranging defense against terrorism that includes all Americans.

"We need to encourage citizens of all ages to get involved in Americorps, the Peace Corps, the diplomatic corps, and the other voluntary service corps," he said.

While praising the efforts of American servicemen and women, he also pushed for better pay and training for soldiers, sailors and airmen.




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