NRF again denounces potential 100% inspection legislation
The National Retail Federation on Tuesday urged the U.S. House of Representatives to reject amendments calling for 100 percent inspection of U.S.-bound air and ocean cargo, saying the proposals would disrupt commerce and are too unworkable to significantly improve security.
“American retailers support security initiatives to safeguard the nation from the introduction of dangerous weapons and persons while also protecting retailers’ supply chains and brand names,” said Steve Pfister, NRF senior vice president for government relations, in a letter to House members. “However, requiring 100 percent inspection of U.S.-bound air and sea cargo is currently operationally infeasible, technically unreliable, and would cause unacceptably high economic costs and disruptions to the nation’s commerce while offering no real improvement in the nation’s cargo security system.”
Pfister noted that the Transportation Security Administration and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection employ a risk-based approach in targeting potentially high-risk cargo by screening content lists before arrival in the United States and inspecting any cargo identified as a potential security risk.
“Rather than a 100 percent inspection system that cannot be implemented and merely offers a false sense of security, we strongly support building upon this multi-tiered, risk-based system as the most effective and realistic means to safeguard the nation’s freight transportation system,” Pfister said.
The House today is scheduled to consider H.R. 5441, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, sponsored by Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. During consideration of the bill, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is expected to offer two amendments, one that would require 100 percent inspection of all U.S.-bound ocean cargo and another requiring the same for air cargo.
The House Homeland Security Committee rejected a similar Markey amendment on ocean cargo in April when he attempted to attach it to a larger port security bill. The full House then voted down a motion offered by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., that would have sent the bill back to committee because it lacked the Markey language. The House ultimately passed the port bill after approving an amendment that called for a pilot program to test screening and scanning technology.