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After 9/11, Safety Became Focus for Bob Ney

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Steny Hoyer to this day I admire his 100 percent integrity, cooperation. He put the institution and the safety of Members and staff first. There were decisions immediately that had to be made that really were frankly sensitive that could have caused a huge stir. Steny Hoyer never played one single minute of politics on any of those decisions. He made decisions based on what was best for the institution. He was amazing. There were Members who wanted to shut stuff down, Members who wanted to keep stuff open. The tours werent up and running. I could go on and on with a list of 200 things [that Members proposed]. ... They were delicate decisions and Steny Hoyer just really rose to the occasion. ... He was just an institutionalist and cared about their safety.

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I remember one thing about this. Speaker [Dennis] Hastert [R-Ill.] said to me, if not once, 10 times, I want security and I want safety, but I want this to be the peoples House, I want it to be open. That was his mandate. ... I think overall its a very balanced approached [to security] that we have done. ... Its a moment we hope never happens again. I do think its better security for the employees and the Members of Congress and the press youve got to go into that building, too. I think its a better system and its not foolproof, but I think its much better than it was the day before 9/11.

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