Momentum to address port security, sparked from a White House attempt last winter to sell control of several U.S. ports to Dubai, is now carrying legislation through that building on the other end of Pennsylvania Ave. The SAFE Port Act passed the House of Representatives with an overwhelming 421-2 vote and a similar measure has already been approved by the Senate.
The bill mandates that radiation detectors be installed at 22 major seaports in the U.S., and $5.5 billion has been earmarked for port security equipment purchases. Port workers would also have their names checked against terrorist and immigration records. The bill expands training and standards for entering the United States. It also puts forwards plans to keep trade going in the event of an attack, and creates a position of Director of Cargo Security Policy within the Department of Homeland Security.
“In the SAFE Port Act, Representatives Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Jane Harman (D-CA) have crafted an important bill that promises to enhance port and cargo security at home, strengthen the federal Port Security Grant program to help U.S. ports thwart terrorism at their marine facilities, and reduce the potential for contraband reaching our shores inside shipping containers,” said Kurt Nagle, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities.