Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge today on Capitol Hill submitted to a bipartisan group of House leaders the Bush administration plan that would create a new cabinet level department of Homeland Security.
The proposal would bring together from many departments the agencies responsible for protecting the nation's borders, transportation systems, and those that protect us from chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks. The new department would employ as many as 170,000 federal workers. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) after receiving the proposal stated, "We face an unprecedented threat to our homeland. The American people need to know that the government is ready to defend against this threat." Director Ridge is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Government and Reform Committee to answer members' questions about the proposal.