ACCESSION NUMBER:00000 FILE ID:95042009.POL DATE:04/20/95 TITLE:CONGRESS MOVING TO STRENGTHEN ANTI-TERRORISM LEGISLATION TEXT: (Members express outrage at Oklahoma City bombing) (650) By Wendy S. Ross USIA Congressional Affairs Writer Washington -- Leading members of Congress say they want to work closely with the Clinton administration to strengthen federal anti-terrorist legislation in light of the Oklahoma City bombing. The Senate "stands ready to work closely with the administration to pass the toughest and most effective anti-terrorist bill at the earliest possible time," Senate Republican leader Bob Dole said April 20. The Senate returns from a two week recess April 24; the House returns May 1. "President Clinton has sent the right message to the perpetrators of this vicious crime: They will be caught, they will be punished, and the American people will not be intimidated," Dole said. Dole also applauded Attorney General Janet Reno for publicly stating that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty once the terrorists are apprehended. "If there was ever a crime deserving of the death penalty, this is it," he said. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said "the cowards who are responsible for this act of terrorism should be hunted down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." The bombing of a building containing hundreds of innocent people -- some of them only children -- "is shocking and reprehensible," he said. Representative Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said the bombing of innocent children and civilians in the heart of a city "is an act of abominable, cowardly terrorism that strikes at the very foundation of civilized society." "Coming barely two years after the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, this incident further demonstrates the necessity of strengthening our ability to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores and inflicting their violence upon our citizenry," Gilman said. He said his panel would "favorably consider any administration request to increase funding to help combat international terrorism," despite severe constraints in federal spending for overseas activities brought on by the deficit. Representative Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, held a press conference April 20 to denounce the bombing. He said his panel will continue holding hearings on anti-terrorism legislation. Earlier this month, prior to the Oklahoma City bombing, the committee began an examination of the issue with a hearing that included testimony from officials with the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the departments of State and Justice. Hyde said his staff is completing work on draft legislation that includes new restrictions on the granting of U.S. visas to aliens linked to terrorist activities. It also includes provisions to curb the fraudulent manipulation of lax U.S. immigration laws, including the political asylum process. Hyde said "America is vulnerable. It's like a hotel lobby. It's easy to get in and easy to get out." He said any legislation must give law enforcement agencies the necessary resources to curb terrorist activities and prevent the entry of foreign nationals who pose a risk to America's security. Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Terrorism, Technology and Government Information Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has scheduled a hearing for April 27 on separate anti-terrorism legislation that was introduced in February at the request of the Clinton administration. That proposed legislation would make political terrorism a federal crime and increase punishments up to and including the death penalty -- already available for some types of federal terrorist acts. It would let the government prohibit fund raising in the United States on behalf of known terrorist organizations. It would also make it easier to deport aliens living in the United States who engaged in terrorism in the past or are presently engaged in terrorist activities. One of the more controversial aspects of the measure would give judges power to review and use classified evidence that might not be provided to the accused. NNNN .