Congress yesterday sent President Bush legislation that heightens airport and seaport security and includes a "John Doe" provision to protect airline passengers from retaliatory lawsuits for reporting potential terror activity.
The measure that implements the remaining major September 11 commission recommendations passed the House yesterday 371-40. It had cleared the Senate 85-8 late Thursday night.
"It was our highest priority to make the American people safer and we passed it on our first day in our first legislative act," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
"With this bill we will be keeping our promise to the families of 911 victims," she said.
The homeland security bill requires 100 percent inspection of air cargo and maritime cargo within three years, and changes the formula for the distribution of grant money to ensure high-risk areas such as New York and Washington get a larger share of funding.
The White House said the president would sign the bill.
The John Doe provision was introduced by lawmakers in response to a suit filed by a group of Muslim imams who were removed from a November flight after the flight crew and passengers reported the men were behaving suspiciously.
The suspicious activity, first reported by The Washington Times, included changing seats, the pattern of their seating, moving about the cabin before takeoff, criticizing the Bush administration and the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and asking for seat-belt extensions that flight attendants said were not needed.