AMENDMENT WOULD MAINTAIN CUSTOMSÆ REVENUE ROLE IN HOMELAND SECURITY
While Congress debates the role of the U.S. Customs Service and other agencies in President Bush’s proposed Department of Homeland Security, leading Congressmen have suggested that the agency keep its role as a revenue source in the likely transition.
At a business meeting on Thursday of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Ranking Member Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., introduced an amendment to the Homeland Security Bill (S. 2452) asking that Customs maintain its role as a collector of duties on incoming goods. The measure was approved in a voice vote by the committee.
Language in Lieberman’s amendment said Customs’ revenue functions should be the “assessing, collecting, and refunding duties, excise taxes, fees and any liquidated damages or penalties due on imported merchandise.” Bush’s plan calls for the consolidation of over 20 federal agencies into one department to oversee homeland security under the oversight of an office focused on four divisions: border and transportation security, emergency preparedness, chemical and nuclear countermeasures, and intelligence and infrastructure protection.
Both House and Senate bills call for bringing Customs, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal agencies, into the department. The Senate is expected to debate the bill this week.