House committee defeats Democrat-sponsored container security measure

Published 3 April 2006

Democratic minority in the House Homeland Security Committee wanted a strict timetable for implementing freight container security measure, but Republican majority defeats proposal

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Economic Security Subcommittee rejected a proposal from Democrats which would have required all cargo containers headed for the United States to have tamper-resistant seals and be scanned for illicit materials. The proposal was offered as an amendment to the Security and Accountability for Every Port bill, but it was defeated on an eight-to-six party-line vote before the subcommittee passed the bill by unanimous voice vote. The defeated amendment would have required DHS to issue new regulations within three years requiring all containers to have hardened seals and be scanned before leaving a foreign port.

Homeland Security Economic Security Subcommittee chairman Dan Lungren (R-California) led opposition to the amendment, saying the requirement for scanning all containers is not technically feasible or logical. He said DHS officials should scan all high-risk cargo, not every container.

The partisan split notwithstanding, the panel’s Republicans and Democrats approved another proposal that would require DHS to create a program to test and deploy next-generation radiation portal monitors at U.S. seaports that have a high volume of containerized cargo.