Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of a resolution recognizing the vigilance and response of the people of New York and local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel in the foiled terrorist attack in Times Square on Saturday evening. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“I thank the gentleman for yielding and thank him for bringing this resolution to the floor so that we can all rise and sing the praises of those in New York whose vigilance and sense of community, whose courage, the courage of our first responders, the professionalism, commitment, and determination of our local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, and the people of New York. We salute them.
“They were prepared. They were ready to act. They calmly did what was necessary. And because of their swift action, the people of New York - and the entire nation - remain safe.
“I thank Congressmen McMahon, Himes, and Hall and all of our colleagues who have sponsored this resolution, recognizing the bravery and again the vigilance of individuals and officers in New York and Connecticut, as well as the leadership of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Obama Administration.
“In the wake of this foiled terrorist plot, we are inspired by the true character of the American people.
“We recall that our country's spirit can always be found in the hearts and deeds of its citizens, people like Lance Orton and Duane Jackson, ‘two alert citizens,' - and aren't we fortunate for that? - as this resolution calls them, who notified the NYPD of a suspicious vehicle in Times Square. The whole country learned of their vigilance, their sense of community.
“Our country's resolve rests with police officers such as Wayne Rhatigan of the NYPD, who responded immediately to the scene and, with his fellow officers and with the men and women of the New York Fire Department, thwarted the detonation of the car bomb.
“Our country's strength remains with first responders, who run into danger when others run out - who safely and promptly evacuated Time Square, protecting those in harm's way.
“Our country's determination lies with law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, who worked together, pursued leads, and detained the bomber just two days after the attempted attack - never resting until the job was done.
“At moments like this, Congress reaffirms our first responsibility as we do each day, Mr. Speaker, as we pledge to protect and defend the constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. That responsibility is to protect the American people as well. That is our first responsibility.
“As this resolution states, we ‘urge all Americans to remain vigilant about potential terrorist or suspicious activity within their own communities.'
“We must follow the example of the people of New York who, as President Obama said, ‘have reminded us once again of how to live with their heads held high.'
“Mr. Hall, in his closing remarks, said that the attempt by this terrorist to instill fear was thwarted. The goal of terrorists is to instill fear. The damage is one thing to them, but instilling fear is really their goal. In that way, in both parts of their attempt, the attempt was thwarted. The violent attack was thwarted, but also, as the President said, we will not be intimidated.
“This past weekend, everyday Americans joined our police officers, firefighters, first responders, Homeland Security officials, FBI agents, and other law enforcement personnel as heroes. They are all heroes and we salute them as such on the floor of the House.
“Their efforts represent the best in America. Their response serves as an inspiration to us all to stay prepared and do everything we can to keep our great country safe.
“Again, I thank Mr. Pascrell for bringing this resolution to the floor, joined in a bipartisan way, in saluting the heroes of New York.”