House approves its version of port security bill

| 5/5/2006

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved its version of the port security bill on Thursday, May 4.

The bill provides $7.4 billion in spending for new port security inspectors, screening for nuclear weapons and radioactive materials, and the development of an automated system that would track potentially high-risk cargo containers.

The bill also contains a provision requiring full implementation of the Transportation Workers Identification Card program by November 2008, with a gradual rollout at selected ports and other high-security areas leading up to that date.

The Washington Post reported that House Republicans blocked a Democratic amendment that would have required all cargo to be screened before it leaves foreign ports and is shipped to the U.S.

However, the Senate Homeland Security Committee added a pilot program to test 100 percent screening at three foreign ports in the Senate version of the bill earlier this week.

The Post reported that House Republicans insisted that 100 percent screening was unfeasible.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-OH, said such a move “will shut down worldwide shipping overnight,” according to The Post.