Republicans are working with President Clinton to quickly pass an anti-terrorism bill in response to the Oklahoma City bombing, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says.
Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole had introduced a crime bill on the first day of Congress with many anti-terrorism provisions, and Hatch said he has since worked to merge it with similar provisions proposed later by Clinton.Hatch said he will try to incorporate even more changes proposed by the president since the Oklahoma bombing, and he plans to hold hearings on them Thursday.
"We must and we will guarantee that any terrorist, be he domestic or international, know that our nation's policy will be one of swift and effective retribution," Hatch told the Senate on Monday.
Leaders of both parties echoed his call.
Dole said, "I know I speak for all the Senate when I say that we stand with all the people of Oklahoma, committed to doing all that is needed to protect America from the terrorist threat."
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle added, "Senators, Republican and Democrat, are united in their determination to do anything and everything that we can do to ensure that the work goes on and that the FBI and other law enforcement officials have the resources and have the legal ability necessary to do what must be done."
Besides work on the anti-terrorism bill, the Senate was expected to pass on Tuesday a resolution sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Sens. Don Nickles and James Inhofe to condemn "in the strongest possible terms" the bombing in Oklahoma.
Hatch said his anti-terrorism bill would increase penalties for committing terrorist acts in the United States and would make conspiracy to commit them a crime so law officials could stop them "at their formation rather than waiting until after they have committed a terrorist act."