By Roxana Tiron - 11/10/09 01:11 AM EST
President Barack Obama, military leaders and a host of lawmakers are expected to attend Tuesday’s memorial service for the 13 victims slain in last week’s shooting rampage at an Army base.
The Army has offered to fly lawmakers to the service; as of press time, at least 15 Senate and House members had expressed interest. The passenger plane taking off from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on Tuesday morning can fit 30 people.
The service will include a roll call of the names of those killed and a 21-gun salute. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obamas will meet with victims’ families and the president will speak at the memorial to “a community obviously saddened and stricken by the events of last week.”
It is unclear how many lawmakers will attend the event, though sources said senators who had expressed interest in traveling through the military’s accommodation included Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
Some senators may also make the trip on their own, including Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), according to a source familiar with the planning for the event.
The Senate is in session Tuesday and is considering the 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said early Monday evening that he hoped to hold votes on the bill on Tuesday, but indicated a number of senators would be in Texas for the Fort Hood service.
Reid will ask for a moment of silence when the Senate convenes on Tuesday .
The House is not in session this week and it is unclear how many lawmakers from that chamber will attend the event. Those expressing interest included Reps. Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Kay Granger (R-Texas), John Carter (R-Texas), Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.).
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 12 soldiers and a civilian at Fort Hood and injuring at least 30 others, is conscious and able to talk, according to several media reports on Monday. Authorities say he fired more than 100 rounds Thursday at a soldier-processing center before being shot by civilian police.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and ranking member Susan Collins (R-Maine) formally announced on Monday that their panel will be conducting an investigation into the shooting beginning with a public hearing next week.
“This murderous attack should be examined from every angle to make sure nothing like this occurs again,” Lieberman said. “While we in no way will interfere with the Army’s or FBI’s criminal investigations, the committee will be conducting an investigation into what Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s motives were, whether the government missed warning signs that should have led to expulsion and what lessons we can learn to prevent such future attacks.”
“The speculation could potentially heighten the backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
As horrific as the shooting was, “it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity became a casualty here,” he warned.
Casey said investigators believe Hasan was the only shooter involved.
Sam Youngman contributed to this report.