For six months, I urged Congress to take action to ensure this dangerous situation did not come to pass. I even signed a two-week extension of the existing law, because members of Congress said they would use that time to work out their differences. The Senate used this time productively — and passed a good bill with a strong, bipartisan super-majority of 68 votes. Republicans and Democrats came together on legislation to ensure that we could effectively monitor those seeking to harm our people. And they voted to provide fair and just liability protection for companies that assisted in efforts to protect America after the attacks of 9/11.
The Senate sent this bill to the House for its approval. It was clear that if given a vote, the bill would have passed the House with a bipartisan majority. I made every effort to work with the House to secure passage of this law. I even offered to delay my trip to Africa if we could come together and enact a good bill. But House leaders refused to let the bill come to a vote. Instead, the House held partisan votes that do nothing to keep our country safer. House leaders chose politics over protecting the country — and our country is at greater risk as a result.
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