George W. Bush photo

Remarks on Departure for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland

December 21, 2005

Legislative Agenda

Thank you all. The Senate is debating two very important measures, and I urge the United States Senate to pass the defense appropriations bill. It is an important piece of legislation that provides necessary funding for our troops who are fighting in Afghanistan and in Iraq and who are serving our country around the world. It's an obligation of every Member of the United States Senate to provide necessary funding for our troops on the frontlines so that we can fight and win the war on terror.

And the second important piece of legislation is the PATRIOT Act. In order to protect America, the United States Senate must reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. The terrorists still want to hit us again. There is an enemy that lurks, a dangerous group of people that want to do harm to the American people, and we must have the tools necessary to protect the American people. The PATRIOT Act passed overwhelmingly shortly after the September the 11th attack. It has been an effective tool; it has worked.

And the same as we protected the American people using the PATRIOT Act, we've also protected their civil liberties. There is extensive oversight on this very important program. The PATRIOT Act tore down the wall between law enforcement and intelligence communities, which makes it easier to connect the dots before an attack. The PATRIOT Act also gave law enforcement tools to investigate terrorism that they have already got to investigate other types of crimes.

The PATRIOT Act is scheduled to expire at the end of this year. The terrorist threat is not going to expire at the end of this year. The House has voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, and they left town, because they thought their—because their business is finished. The Senate is still debating this issue. A majority of the United States Senate supports reauthorization; a minority of Senators is filibustering and preventing the Senate from voting to renew the PATRIOT Act. The Senate Democratic leader recently boasted about killing the PATRIOT Act. This obstruction is inexcusable. The Senators obstructing the PATRIOT Act need to understand that the expiration of this vital law will endanger America and will leave us in a weaker position in the fight against brutal killers. It's important that the Senate act quickly on these two bills.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:11 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of these remarks.

George W. Bush, Remarks on Departure for the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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