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Wynn, Bartlett, Cardin Pass on 9-11 Memorial in N.Y.

By David Pittman
Capital News Service
Thursday, Sept. 5, 2002

WASHINGTON - More than half of the members of Congress are expected to
skip a special 9-11 memorial session of Congress in New York City on Friday,
including three from the Maryland congressional delegation.

Democratic Reps. Albert Wynn of Mitchellville and Ben Cardin of Baltimore and Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Frederick said Thursday that they will not travel to New York's Federal Hall to commemorate the anniversary of last
September's terrorist attacks.

Both Maryland senators and the state's five other House members plan to go, according to their offices.

All representatives and senators were invited to attend the session according officials in both in the House and Senate. But Wynn will stay home to focus on his campaign, his staff said. Cardin will be observing Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, which starts Friday at sunset.

Bartlett's press secretary, Lisa Wright, said he is not attending because he wanted to ensure that there was enough room for representatives from the New
York delegation at Federal Hall.

The historic hall, where the first Congress met and drafted the Bill of Rights, could accommodate the entire Congress, said an official in the House Clerk's office. But the House Sergeant-at-Arms would only say that "200-plus" of
the 535 members of Congress are expected to attend the joint session at the
hall, which is only few blocks from where the World Trade Center towers stood.

Members will take the train from Union Station in Washington to New York
for the 10 a.m. session at Federal Hall. They will then lunch with Mayor Michael
Bloomberg before heading to Ground Zero for a wreath-laying ceremony.

Rep. Constance Morella, R-Bethesda, said that the session "is a fitting tribute to the strength of our nation, and to those we lost on that terrible day."

"Our show of unity and resolve will honor the courage and spirit that the people of New York have demonstrated since the tragic terrorist attacks," she said.

Rep Bob Ehrlich, R-Timonium, echoed that sentiment.

"Friday's legislative session at Federal Hall gives Congress the opportunity to pay tribute to New Yorkers for their resilience after 9-11, " he said. "This is a day of remembrance for all lawmakers, regardless of political party."

Democrat Don DeArmon, who is running to unseat Bartlett in Maryland's 6th
District, declined to take a dig at Bartlett for his decision to stay home. But
while he supports the tribute, DeArmon said he feels that lawmakers should focus
on other issues.

"I think it's fitting that they're having this tribute, but I think it would be more fitting for them to get their budget mess in order," he said.

Copyright 2002 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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