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Congress reacts to news of Osama bin Laden's death

May 01, 2011|By Kathleen Hennessey and James Oliphant
  • House Speaker John Boehner with a soldier in Afghanistan in April. He said after Bin Laden's death: "I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community."
House Speaker John Boehner with a soldier in Afghanistan in April. He said… (Ensign Haraz N. Ghanbari…)

Several congressional leaders got notice of Osama bin Laden’s death before President Obama’s formal announcement and quickly released statements praising the president and the military on the successful mission. Some, largely Republicans, took care also to give some credit to former President George W. Bush.

Lawmakers from both parties signaled that the killing does not bring an end to the fight against Al Qaeda. A few excerpts from reaction on Capitol Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “This is the most significant victory in our fight against al Qaeda and terrorism, but that fight is not over. We will continue to support our troops and the American civilians who are fighting every day to protect our homeland.”

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

House Speaker John Boehner, (R-Ohio) "We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people.  I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success. I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaeda. I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment.  It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation. ... Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country.”

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): “I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed. Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable. ... Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.): “Families who lost loved ones at the hands of Bin Laden and his terrorist organization have grieved for far too long and this sends a signal that America will not tolerate terrorism in any form. ... I commend President Obama who has followed the vigilance of President Bush in bringing Bin Laden to justice. While this is no doubt a major event in our battle against terrorism, we will not relent in our fight against terror and our efforts to keep America safe and secure.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): “This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers -- and citizens from all over the world -- who were murdered on 9/11. It took close to ten years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate. New York's heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee: “Today, the American people have seen justice.  The leader of the United States’ top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on September 11, 2001. ...In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.’  President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words.  President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee:”Bin Laden is responsible for the attacks of 9/11 and has been the head of al-Qa'ida and inspirational leader of extremism for more than a decade. His death presents an opportunity for a new and better day if the will is there. I truly hope this will be a turning point in our efforts to defeat global terrorism. ... I was notified on Sunday of the strike and have been briefed in the past about intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts. It has been a very impressive CIA operation and they deserve praise.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a possible GOP presidential candidate: "I want to express my deepest gratitude to the men and women of the U.S. military and intelligence community. Their persistence and dedicated service has yielded success in a mission that has gripped our nation since the terrible events of 9/11. Tonight’s news does not bring back the lives of the thousands of innocent people who were killed that day by Osama bin Laden’s horrific plan, and it does not end the threat posed by terrorists, but it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism."

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

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