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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 10, 2016 12:27am-1:08am EDT

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thank you. now i would like to invite everyone to join us in singing god bless america with our marine band. ♪ >> god bless america, land that i love. herd beside her and guide through the night with the light from above. from the mountains to the oceans whitethe with foam. , my home sweetca home.
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god bless america, my home sweet home. ♪ [applause] [applause] ♪
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[inaudible] nationalithsonian museum of history will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the september 11 attack with a special one-day exhibition on sunday, september 11. washington journal got a preview.
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institutionhsonian -- >> here is the curator. thank you for talking with us. >> thank you for having man e. >> what are we looking at? >> the september 11 collection. it represents all of the three attack sites. we have shanksville, pennsylvania. in the middle, we have the pentagon and on the far right, we have the world trade center. >> how did you get these paces? to eachnt curators attack site. they spent their time looking at threes civic, collecting 40 points. they looked at the attacks themselves, the recovery effort and first responders. elementssed on three
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of the september 11 because otherwise it would have been too enormous to in capture. it is emotional to separate the story from what was happening. create a able to representative story about what happened. >> some of these pieces for the first time with interesting stories and tell us about the note. >> we were contacted by the donor and they had a very interesting story. pentagon andthe when the attacks occurred, they both met at a prearranged site and that was their costs. she left this not for frank letting him know everything was ok and everything would go to a more traditional evacuation area. wonderful piece because
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it reminds us that cell phones were not ubiquitous and it is a good question. -- toould you do when contact your loved ones when you have no access to something that today is so much difficult for us to understand because cell phones are everywhere. it helps us better understand. we are looking at a jacket that came from the world trade center. what is the story? dee smith, an to employee of the salvation army. i think it is significant because it tells the story about who to care of the first
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responders, the family members that were down at ground zero, who to care of the law enforcement officers. it is more common for people that were at ground zero or first responders or family members. we know that an expected but someone was -- the recovery workers working 24/7, somebody gave them clothing when they were cold and most of this is happening in the late fall-winter. people making sure they are warm and a place for them to meet the these are questions we are trying to help our visitors and future research to understand that there was much more going on than just the recovery effort and we wanted to make sure people understood that.
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is spent a lot of time putting these collections together. what do you want people from taking away from it? >> where hoping by providing and looks you can come at the objects just as they are now. of there would not be any cases. you can interact with the staff. there will be a blue talk to, discuss the objects and where they came from and collected. we want you to connect with the objects yourself by giving you this intimate look to allow you to be your own curator. to remember what happened that day. we are farther and farther away at what you have in. >> what you are seeing is a small part of the september 11 collection at the smithsonian. we are talking to the curator.
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thank you for your time. collects the one-day exhibition will be open to the public sunday, september 11 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. today the house unanimously passed a bill to allow u.s. citizens over the 9/11 terrorist attacks. it passed the senate in may and will go to the white house with the president has said he opposes the bill. the measures targeted towards letting 9/11 victims sue saudi victims and the government. before the vote, member supported there's or. before the legislation. consume. mr. speaker, the justice against sponsors of terrorism act has been introduced over successful congresses and twice passed the
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senate. over the years that this legislation has been considered, i have worked with its sponsors to make the bill's language more precise in order to ensure that any unintended consequences are kept to a minimum. in particular, i have worked to make sure the extension of secondary liability under the anti-terrorism act closely tracks the common-law standard for aiding and abetting liability and limited to state department to foreign terrorist organizations. secondary liability should attach to persons who have actual knowledge that they are directly providing substantial assistance to a designated foreign terrorist organization in connection with the commission of an act of international terrorism. jasta as revised ensures that aiding and abetting liability is limited in this matter. .
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international terrorism that causes physical injury on u.s. joil. jasta makes this change because under current law a foreign nation can provide financing and other substantial assistance for a terrorist attack in our country and escape liability so long as the support is provided overseas. for example, under current law, if the intelligence agency of a foreign government handed a terrorist a bag of money in new york city to support an attack on u.s. soil, the country would be libel under the foreign sovereign impugnities acts toward exception right now. however, if we change the fact pattern slightly so that rather than giving a terrorist money in new york city the money is provided in paris, the foreign state will not be subject to liability in u.s. courts. this is a troubling loophole in
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our anti-terrorism laws. to say that a terrorist attack occurring in the united states, a tort occurring in the united states, of u.s. citizens, would not allow u.s. citizens access to their own courts for a tort that occurred in their own country. when congress enacted the foreign sovereign immunities act in 1976, it put in place a broad set of exceptions to sovereignty immunity, including an exception for tort claims involving injuries occurring in the united states. however, the courts have not consistently interpreted those exceptions in such a manner that they cover the sponsoring of a terrorist attack on u.s. soil. jasta addresses this inconsistency with a concrete rule that is consistent with the nine long-standing exceptions to foreign sovereign immunity already provided for under u.s. law. jasta ensures those including
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foreign governments who sponsor terrorist attacks on u.s. soil are held fully accountable for their actions. we can no longer allow those who injure and kill americans to hide behind legal loopholes denying justice to the victims of terrorism. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, is recognized. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. speaker. i would yield as manager of the bill on our side to the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. conyers: thank you. i want to thank my colleague from new york, senior member on the committee, with whom i have worked for many years. mr. speaker, the september 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the united states was the deadliest foreign attack on american soil
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in our nation's history. it's impact has been immeasurable as evidenced by the fact that we're still grappling with the cultural and policy implications stemming from the events of that day. and 15 years on, most americans continue to feel its searing emotional impact. particularly as the anniversaryry -- anniversary date approaches this sunday. this is especially true for those who lost loved ones or were injured as a result of this horrific attack. they deserve our deepest sympathy and our help. so it is in this vain that we consider s. 2040, the justice against sponsors of terrorism act. which, among other things, amends the foreign sovereign immunities act of 1976 to create a new exception to the
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act's general grant of foreign sovereign immunity. the judiciary committee held a hearing on this bill last july which the bill's supporters presented compelling and sympathetic arguments in favor of ensuring that the 9/11 families have access to a well deserved day in court. at the same time, however, the administration and others raised a number of concerns about the bill's potential impact that we should keep in mind. first, the administration, some allied nations, and others sert that the enactment of 2040-s. 2040 may lead to retaliation by other countries against the united states given the breadth of our interests
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and the expansive research of our global activities. secondly, they assert that the bill will hamper cooperation from other nations because they may become more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence in light of the greater risk that such information may be revealed in litigation. however, they raise the concern that the bill effectively would allow private litigants rather than the government to determine foreign and national security policy questions like which states are sponsors of terrorism. because of the moral imperative of enacting legislation and the seriousness of the concerns raised, i remain hopeful that we can continue to work with the administration to resolve these issues so that litigation
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legislation can be signed into law by the president. i also want to acknowledge representatives peter king and particularly jerrold nadler and senators john cornyn and charles schumer for their tireless leadership and efforts to achieve congressional passage of this measure. there is no doubt as to the passion they bring to advocating for victims of september 11, 2001 attacks. a passion that i and many others share. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to both welcome back the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, and to yield to him a distinguished member of the judiciary committee, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. poe: i thank the chairman.
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. speaker, sunday marks 15 years since america was viciously attacked in 2001. . i was driving my jeep to the courthouse in texas where i was a judge. people stopped on the side of the road because they were listening to the radio about how planes were used as a weapon to attack our nation. 3,000 americans and people from other nations were murdered at the hands of evil, malicious terrorists. and our country changed forever that day. the lives of those families especially changed, those families that suffered loved ones that were killed and injured and are still injured today. meanwhile, we are here debating whether or not these families of the victims deserve their basic right under the constitution of
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the u.s. to their day in court, the right to sue the perpetrators. i don't think there should be much dissenting on that issue. if any foreign government that can be shown to have supported a terrorist attack on u.s. soil, american victims ought to have the right to sue that country. based on the 28 pages held secret for years, there may be evidence that the country of saudi arabia and their officials may have had some involvement in planning the elements of that attack. i don't know. that's what the courtroom is for. whether this involvement rises to the level to be held accountable at trial is an issue for a jury of americans to decide. it's interesting that saudi arabia objects to this legislation. me thinks they object too much. we should let a jury decide what the damages, whether there
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should be any at all. the legislation give the victims' families access to the courts, to the rule of law and we as a people should be more concerned about these victims of terror than we are about diplomatic niceities with other countries. the voices cry out for us to do justice and justice has been waiting too long. 15 years for justice. mr. speaker, justice is what we do in this country and that is what these victims and their families want. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to turn to the gentleman from new york, who has been working on this issue for such a long time, representative nadler, for three minutes.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. nadler: i rise in strong support of the jasta. i'm proud to be the lead democratic sponsor of this bill along side my friend from new york, mr. king and i appreciate his hard work on this legislation. on sunday, we will observe the 15th anniversary of september 11 and thousands of americans that were murdered in my district as well as the pentagon and in pennsylvania. jasta would ensure that those responsible for aiding and abetting those attacks are held accountable. unfortunately because of certain court decisions misinterpreting the foreign sovereign immunities act, the 9/11 victims and their families have been able to pursue their claims in court. jasta reinstates what was understood to be the law for 30 years, that foreign states may be brought to justice for aiding
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and abetting accidents and acts of international terrorism that occur on american soil whether or not the conduct that facilitated the attack occurred in the united states. think of it this way. some courts have held if a foreign government agent hands over a million dollar check to l qaeda in a cafe in new york, that government can be sued in an american court. if the same foreign agent funds the same attack by handing over the same check in a restaurant in geef, his government should be immune from liability. that makes no sense and flies in the face of what was settled law. we must correct these court decisions so anyone who facilitates an attack on our people can be brought to justice. this legislation does not prejudge the merits but ensures that the 9/11 families or anyone who makes the same situation can
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plead their case in court. some critics have argued if we pass it, other nations may retaliate by enacting similar laws that may subject citizens to liability. i find this argument unper waist i have. the united states does not depage in international terrorist activity and would not face legal jeopardy if a law like jasta were enacted anywhere else. the sovereign immunities act and its tort exception have been the law for 40 years. in that time, we have not seen the parade of horribles that some critics imagined would happen if this bill were to come law. e cannot allow threats and threaten retaliation to deny victims of terrorist attacks their day in court. this contains a reasonable provision allowing stay of court proceedings that the president is engaging in good faith negotiations to resolve the
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claim through diplomatic channels. we may not fear retaliation. united states is a major power and can hold our own. jasta is a narrow bill that has been negotiated over the past six years and passed the senate in may and provide clarity to the court and justice to the victims of 9/11 and deserves swift passage today. i urge my colleagues to vote for this bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: i yield three minutes to the chief sponsor of this legislation, the gentleman from new york, mr. king. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. king: mr. speaker, this is a great day for america. let me at the outset commend chairman goodlatte for always keeping his word and a person we can count on to do what needs to be done and always carried
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everything out. would like to thank the speaker and the majority leader and nancy pelosi. and let me thank dan lungren who was the original lead sponsor of this bill and thank the 9/11 families the fact that they have never ever yielded and always kept this issue on the front burner at a time when too many americans sought to walk the other way. i thank terry and the great work she's done and her husband tom and father-in-law ernie and mother in law. thank her for the job she did and her husband, she is carrying on his name and i thank you for that. this is essential, it is essential that justice be done and that 9/11 families have the right to bring action in american courts. this is the most basic
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constitutional right. this is an obligation and an obligation to not allow foreign countries or anyone else to intimidate us. justice must be done and we want to make sure there are no more 9/11s. and they cannot step aside and walk away if something is carried out and make believe is not happening. i'm not prejudging the case. the 9/11 families have the right to resolve this resolved in court. and certainly motivated me. i want to thank all the 9/11 families for the work they have done. it's a bipartisan effort and american effort and can be proud as we go into the 15th anniversary on the most horrible day. we will not give up the fight and we will win. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time.
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the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i yield to the gentlelady from new york, mrs. ma lonnie, three minutes. mrs. maloney: i thank the gentleman for yielding and his hard work on this bill and others and chairman demrat and thank you for your good work and bringing it to the floor and my colleagues from new york, congressmen king and nadler. this is an important, important bill. and i rise today, two days before the 15th anniversary of 9/11 to express my strong support for the passage of the justice against sponsors of terrorism act. the attacks of 9/11 were acts of appalling cruelty. they targeted knowingly and specifically innocent americans who just got up and went to work like every other american and were killed on 9/11. though the hijackers of the
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planes died that day it is indisputeable that people who conspired with them in the planning, preparation, execution and financing of those horrific acts walked the streets freely in foreign capitals today. in fact, they are protected by a peculiar interpretation of international law that shields them from justice in u.s. courts for terrorist acts on u.s. soil. this bill, a version of which passed the senate unanimously would correct misinterpretations of previous legislation and lower court decisions and empower survivors and families of the victims of international terrorism to seek a measure of justice through our civil court system. this bill is needed because both the congress and the executive have affirmed that civil litigation against terrorist sponsors including governments can have an important deterrent
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effect. this bill is also mindful of the concerns some have about its possible effect on soverage immunity. for that reason it is narrowly focused and applies only to attacks committed on u.s. soil that harm u.s. nationals. the attacks of 9/11 were roundly condemned by people and governments around the world. so this bill is needed, not just for the families of those who died in new york and at the pentagon and in pennsylvania, it is needed by people around the world. we know we lost roughly 3,000 people on 9/11, but thousands and thousands more have died since the attacks because of the diseases that they now have because of being exposed to the toxins down at ground zero. now they are predicting roughly 15 people a day are concerned
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because cancer is now in their bodies from the exposure. our people are still suffering. 15 years is a long time to wait. this bill is needed. we need justice. i think it's a strong deterrent. i'm proud of the united states congress and the legislative body of this country for standing up and passing this bill. i strongly urge my colleagues to not forget and to support overwhelmingly this bill. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: at this time, it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. lance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. lance: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i rise today in strong support of the justice against foreign terrorists act sponsored by mr. king of new york. as we approach the 15th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks of september
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11, 2001, it is appropriate that we in congress are finally authorizing the victims from that terrible day have the right to pursue full justice in our courts of law. i'm a lawyer and i have worked with constitutional and statutory issues. this legislation does not convict any one person or any one nation. but it gives the loved ones of those who died recourse for full justice and compensation. new jersey lost more than 700 residents in the attacks. 81 of them from communities i represent here in congress. i know some of those names and i know all of those communities. they deserve their day in court and they deserve the assistance of the federal government in being as transparent as possible with the evidence and the intelligence. the truth is the truth and it is time that we all know it.
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this measure passed the united states senate with unanimous support, yet there are some who believe that the white house may threaten to veto the legislation citing how it may compromise our relationship with certain other nations. this is backward logic. those nations should recognize the fundamental justice in legal remedies against a terrorist network that killed more than 3,000 americans. mr. speaker, i urge a yes vote. i am sure this will pass overwhelmingly, perhaps unanimously in a bipartisan fashion and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i'm pleased to recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. doggett, for three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. doggett: thank you. look around the world. in europe, in asia, in the middle east, in africa, wherever
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you see evidence of radical islam, that extremism can usually betraysed to preachers of hate from the kingdom has blood on its hands. is it the blood of the victims of 15 of the 19 hijackers were saudis. some saudis were permitted to flee this country without thorough interviews. saudi arabia has long been considered the principal source of funding for al qaeda. senator graham saw a direct line at least between some of the terrorists who carried out the september 11 attacks and the government of saudi arabia. but evaluating all of this evidence, the evidence of both sides is why we have a judicial system in the first place and for our government to obstruct the 9/11 victims, their families from seeking the truth about
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saudi arabia and its involvement is just flat wrong. . some in our government have tried to hide as much as they could as loping as they could. ignoring saudi treachery, we had a president who literally held hands with the crown prince while attacking another country in the biggest foreign policy disaster in our nation's history that continues to plague us. the muslims that i know that are my neighbors in texas, and those with whom i meet here in washington, do not deserve blanket blame for themselves or for islam. but neither should there be blanket immunity for those who may have committed wrong. i salute the bipartisan sponsors of this legislation. give these 9/11 families their day in court. and accord the saudis all of the rights in that judicial proceeding they so regularly
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deny their own citizens. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. donovan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. speaker, to begin i'd like to acknowledge and thank speaker ryan, chairman goodlatte, and chairman upton. i have been a member of this distinguished institution for only 16 months, and in that time they have done right by the heroes i represent in congress. i thank them and thousands of heroes and their families from my district thank them as well. my good friend, the gentleman from new york, mr. king, has been a fierce advocate for all 9/11 heroes and their families for the last 15 years. and it's an honor to stand by his side. i'd like to read into the
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record part of a letter written to me last week by lawrie, a widow of firefighter and my good friend joseph from new york city's fire department's rescue 5. it's sunday morning, and the smell of coffee fills the air as they wait to hear the sound of the key in the front door. i know that sound of that key will be followed by the words, i'm home. and my heart is excited. no longer do i hear the sound of that key in the door object sunday morning. no longer do i hear the simple words, i'm home. sovereign immunity should not be allowed as a shield of protection for persons or nations that fund terrorists and cause mass murder. jassta must be passed to send a strong message to all nations, if you fund terrorism, there will be accountability.
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mr. speaker, this bill is about giving victims of terror attacks on united states soil their day in court and the chance to hold everybody accountable, including foreign governments, that may have been involved. 9/11 devastated families in my district and for me their priorities are my priorities. i support this bill and ask my colleagues to join me in voting for passage. as my good friend from new jersey, mr. lance, said, the president has threatened to veto this bill. but for those americans who have earned the right for justice, i hope he has the conviction and courage to sign jassta into law. i yield the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i'm pleased now to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. israel. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. i thank my friend.
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i thank the distinguished ranking member. mr. speaker, i rise in support of the justice against sponsors of terrorism act. mr. speaker, 15 years ago my congressional district lost 200 men and women. families named downy and murphy and so many other families. in the years since those who responded to that act of terror have been getting sicker and sicker and sicker. they all deserve justice, mr. speaker. you get justice on the battlefield. you can get justice in the courtroom. this bill ensures that they have the right to justice in the courtroom. for that simple and very profound reason, i support this bill. i was pleased to co-sponsor the bill with my friend from new york, mr. king, and i urge the president not to veto this bill. i thank my friend from michigan, yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves.
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the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. speaker, at this time it's my pleasure to yield three minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank chairman goodlatte for his extraordinary work on this legislation. mr. conyers, of course peter king who has been absolutely tenacious picking up the good work that dan lungren, a former member of the committee and attorney general of california had done on this legislation previously. this is a bipartisan piece of legislation and it has to be signed by the president. i certainly hope that the president will sign it into law. this bill holds the promise of some measure of justice for the victims of al qaeda's horrific terrorist attack on the united states 15 years ago this sunday. time has not diminished the suffering of those who have lost will haved ones on that day -- loved ones on that day, nor has it brought accountability or closure. this bill aims to change that
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to some degree by overturning the legal challenges that they have -- that have stood between the victims and the justice they rightly seek from foreign governments and individuals suspected of financing the 9/11 attacks. i worked extensively with the 9/11 survivors, family members, worked with the jersey girls as they became known who pushed so hard for the 9/11 commission in a was chaired by my governor, former governor, tom cane, that did joeman's work to get to the bottom of what happened and what we might do to mitigate a crisis going forward. unfortunately there still are gaps and this is one of those gaping holes that needs to be closed. here today are some of those family members, many of them widows, cassie, who works on my staff, who lost her son. mindy, monica, carol are here in the chamber and have pushed so hard for this legislation. not here but here in spirit kristen,

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