HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS RAISES PROPOSED CUSTOMS ACE BUDGET TO $300 MILLION
The House Appropriations Subcommittee for Treasury Postal has added $170 million to raise Customs’ new computer system budget to $300 million for fiscal 2002.
The Bush Administration’s proposed budget for the development of the Automated Commercial Environment provided only $130 million for fiscal 2002.
“While this is great news, there is still a long way to go before we can celebrate,” said Jim Clawson, secretariat of the Washington-based Joint Industry Group. “The full (Appropriations) Committee and the House must approve it and then the Senate.”
Still, industry officials from the Coalition for Customs Automation Funding say the $300 million is barely enough to keep ACE on a four to five year development plan. Customs said the estimated cost to build the system is about $1.3 billion. The agency received only $130 million for its ACE budget in fiscal 2001.
On July 17, industry representatives are also expected to testify at the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee’s hearings on trade agency budget authorization. The hearings will cover Customs, the International Trade Commission and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. On Customs, the topics of the hearing will include general budget, the entry revision project, and inspector pay issues.
“This committee has authorized full funding of $350 million each year for ACE and we expect that to continue — with no new user fee,” Clawson said. “JIG will be testifying with our consistent message of full funding and no new fees.”