Democrats introduce container security bill
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Border Security, and other Democrats in Congress, have introduced a bill to tighten port and cargo security in the United States and raise funding for the U.S. Coast Guard and for port security grants.
The “Secure Containers from Overseas And Seaports from Terrorism Act,” or Secure COAST Act, would expand the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and modernize the assets of the U.S. Coast to prevent terrorist attacks.
The proposed bill:
* Sets sealing standards for containers and a verification process to ensure containers are tamper-proof.
* Requires installation of portal monitors at seaports and other ports of entry before Sept. 30, 2005 and authorizes $297 million in the fiscal year 2005 budget for this.
* Provides $537 million dollars in fiscal year 2005 for port security grants, $491 million above the Republican administration’s request.
* Expands the staff of the Coast Guard by 25 percent and accelerates the completion of the Coast Guard’s deepwater program to provide new ships to the fleet.
The bill would also requires the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to complete Customs and Trade Partnership verifications by the end of fiscal year 2005, ensuring companies are securing their supply chains, and require the deployment of a long range vessel tracking system.