Bush signs $40 billion package to rebuild from terrorist attacks, authorize use of military force
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush signed into law Tuesday a $40 billion package to rebuild after last week’s terrorist attacks. He also put his signature to the congressional resolution authorizing him to use military force against those responsible.
”Our whole nation is unalterably committed to a direct, forceful and comprehensive response to these terrorist attacks and the scourge of terrorism directed against the United States,” Bush said in a statement.
Congress passed the legislation last week with unprecedented speed and near unanimity.
Bush also signed legislation expediting benefit payments to injured firefighters and police, or to the survivors of public safety officers killed when hijackers slammed jets into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon one week ago.
Hundreds of firefighters and scores of police officers were killed trying to rescue workers inside Trade Center towers before they collapsed.
Most of the $40 billion will go to recovery and other efforts in New York; Virginia, where the Pentagon is located; and Pennsylvania, where a fourth hijacked plane crashed, reportedly en route to Washington. Bush will be able to spend about half the package with virtually no congressional restriction.
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani praised Bush’s support for the city.
”We will get everything we need to rebuild to fight back,” Giuliani said on CNN’s ”Larry King Live.” ”When he came to New York the other day, he could see that New Yorkers are united behind him.”
Congress and the White House are also considering legislation that would help bail out the financially strapped airline industry.
Bush thanked the House and Senate for giving him the power to wage war on terrorists and the prime suspect in these attacks, Osama bin Laden. The president promised to continue to consult with Congress as he plots the United States’ military response.
”Those who plan, authorize, commit or aid terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests – including those who harbor terrorists – threaten the national security of the United States,” Bush said.
”It is, therefore, necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to defend itself and protect United States citizens both at home and abroad.”
The bills are S.J.Res.23 (use of force), H.R. 2888 ($40 billion spending package), H.R. 2882 (expedited benefit payments).
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