U.S. Customs seeks more money for security programs
Robert Bonner, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, went before a House subcommittee Thursday to make the case for more funding for his agency, as requested in President Bush’s fiscal year 2005 budget.
The House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade is preparing to authorize a spending plan for Customs for fiscal years 2005 and 2006. Bush’s budget proposal, presented earlier this year, provides for $6.2 billion in funding for Customs, $223 million more than appropriated in 2004.
Bonner said $190 million of the total request includes program increases, such as:
* $25 million to expand the Container Security Initiative, which involves stationing customs personnel in foreign ports to do advance screening of inbound container shipments.
* $15 million to grow the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a voluntary program designed to get importers to take responsibility for supply chain security throughout their supply chains.
* $50 million to deploy X-ray type cargo screening and radiation detection technology at all ports.
* $21 million to enhance the National Targeting System used to select people and cargo for intensified security exams.
* $5 million to support development of the International Trade Data System, a long-awaited project to coordinate information collection and dissemination.