Virginia Delegation Heading to Blacksburg
The entire Virginia congressional delegation is expected to trek to the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., tomorrow to show support and assess needs at the site of today's mass murder, aides said.
Sens. John Warner (R-Va.) and James Webb (D-Va.) will lead the delegation to determine what sort of federal help may be needed as the university recovers from the murder of more than 30 people at the southwestern Virginia campus.
In addition, the Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution of sorrow offered by Warner and Webb, expressing "heartfelt condolences" for the tragedy and a hope for a "shared national commitment" to prevent such tragedies in the future. [Full text, as well as remarks by the Virginians follows this post.]
Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee put off until Thursday morning a planned hearing to grill Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about his role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys that has threatened his hold on the job as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Without saying so specifically, it appears the committee and Gonzales decided it would be unseemly to have such a contentious hearing tomorrow over law enforcement issues during such a criminal tragedy.
"We have consulted with the Attorney General and all understand it is appropriate to postpone Attorney General Gonzales's appearance before the Judiciary Committee until Thursday, in light of the tragic events," said Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee chairman, and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member.
The resolution, which was cosponsored by all 100 Senators and was adopted by the Senate this evening by unanimous consent, reads as follows:
Be it Resolved by the Senate that the Senate -
(1) offers its heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and to students, faculty, administration and staff and their families who have been deeply affected by the tragic events that occurred today at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia;
(2) expresses its hope that today's losses will lead to a shared national commitment to take steps that will help our communities prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future
(3) recognizes that Virginia Tech has served as an exemplary institution of teaching, learning, and research for well over a century; and that the University's historic and proud traditions will carry on.
Warner issued the following statement:
"All Americans join the citizens of Virginia in grieving over the tragic loss of life at Virginia Tech. We mourn the young students and faculty whose lives of promise have been cut short, and those who have been injured, by this incomprehensible act of violence.
"In time, Americans will learn more about the circumstances of this senseless tragedy. For now and forever after, our hearts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the other students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech, and their families.
"Virginians are proud of this historic university, and how it has served our state and nation for nearly a century-and-a-half as an exemplary institution of higher learning. That tradition will carry on."
Webb gave the following remarks:
"I want to express my profound sympathies to the entire Virginia Tech community for the tragic shooting that occurred on the campus earlier this morning. My heart goes out to the parents and families of the victims of this senseless act.
"Virginia Tech is a great institution. The young people who were lost today had demonstrated an enormous amount of promise. There is very little that I can add in terms of describing the depth of our feelings and our regret that this incident has occurred. It is an incredible human tragedy.
"Hopefully once the grieving is done, we can find ways that will prevent these sorts of incidents from happening in the future."
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