- Lundergan Grimes uses ‘war on women’ strategy to attack McConnell
- Rep. Jeff Miller: ‘Ain’t no leash for VA’
- Al Qaeda nets $125M from ransom payoffs from Europe since 2008
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich cruising to re-election: survey
- Landslide hits Indian village; 150 may be trapped
- Albania bank loses $7M in theft; police arrest 2
- Gov. Mike Pence irked as Obama sends illegals to Indiana on sly
- Israel, White House say Obama phone call to demand cease-fire was fake
- Nancy Pelosi: Deporting kids un-Christian, sends them ‘into a burning building’
- Islamist militants seize special forces base in Benghazi, Libya
House panel OKs tougher port rules
Question of the Day
A measure to secure U.S. ports from a nuclear attack and to increase the number of random cargo inspections won full committee approval in the House yesterday.
The $2.4 billion bill to track and protect cargo containers shipped from foreign ports passed the House Homeland Security Committee unanimously, and requires that 98 percent of all containers be screened for nuclear materials.
A Democratic proposal that would require in five years that all containers be screened for nuclear devices was rejected by a 18-16 vote.
Republicans say the timetable should be more flexible to allow radiation portal monitor technology to improve. Some critics of the technology question whether it can effectively identify nuclear materials if they are is protected by lead shielding.
“We must do everything in our power to prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“That means continuing to strengthen our domestic and international security efforts through measures like the SAFE Port Act. As long as our ports remain vulnerable, so do the American people,” Mr. King said. “Passing a comprehensive, bipartisan port security bill is one of the most important things we’ll do this year.”
The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act requires Homeland Security Department officials to collect data from importers before cargo is loaded at foreign ports.
The legislation also calls for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, which the Bush administration put into motion Tuesday.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says background checks, including an immigration status check, will be required for all U.S. ports.
Nearly a half-million current port workers and longshoremen will be screened initially and cleared to access secure areas.
Security gaps were highlighted last month after a deal to turn over terminal operations at six major U.S. ports to a Dubai-owned company fell apart amid a congressional firestorm.
Although Democrats say the nuclear screening requirement is weak, the legislation has bipartisan support. It is sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren, California Republican, and Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat.
“Though the vulnerability of our seaports has become an important issue in recent months, the reality is that this legislation is long overdue,” Mr. Lungren said.
In the Senate, a measure adding $1.9 billion for border and port security was attached to an emergency spending bill. The amendment sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican and chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, passed 59-39.
Mr. Gregg said the Senate measure would “basically give the people who are defending us on our borders … the tools they need to do their job right.”
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama mum on where illegal immigrant children are sheltered
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Feds sue Pennsylvania State Police over women's fitness tests
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world