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9/11 commission: Bush must press intel reform
Updated: 2004-11-29 11:28

It will take pressure by President Bush on the Republican-controlled Congress to ensure passage of bottled-up legislation to overhaul intelligence agencies, the chairman of the Sept. 11 commission said Sunday.

With the overhaul stalled after months of negotiations, the crucial question ¡°is whether it will pass now or after a second attack,¡± said Tom Kean, a former Republican governor from New Jersey.

Kean said Bush¡¯s personal involvement is essential to getting the bill passed.

¡°The president has got to go to work,¡± Kean told NBC¡¯s ¡°Meet the Press.¡±

¡°I have great faith in this president. This president has been very successful when he¡¯s gone to work on legislation. This president¡¯s for it. He said he was for it in the campaign. He¡¯s said he is for it since,¡± Kean said.

¡°I believe with his support and his help that this bill will pass.¡±

The legislation passed the Senate almost unanimously, but stumbled in the House on objections by two committee chairmen.

In deference to GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, House Speaker Dennis Hastert pulled the bill from consideration just before the House adjourned for Thanksgiving.

The commission¡¯s vice chairman, former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, put the possibility of passage this year at 60-40.

¡°I think it will. It¡¯s going to be close, and next week is critical,¡± said Hamilton, who appeared with Kean.

Congress returns next week to send a huge spending bill to the president.

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