Proposed Cargo-Screening Cuts a Concern to Lawmakers – CQ HS

The Obama administration’s proposal to cut millions of dollars from programs that scan U.S.-bound freight in foreign ports had House appropriators worried Wednesday over Customs and Border Protection’s plans for the future of cargo screening.

“We have visited seaports and know that implementing cargo security is complicated,” said David E. Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. “But the department must spell out its vision, with a plan to achieve it, if we are to understand how these cuts affect U.S. security and trade.”

The programs in question were the Secure Freight Initiative, which will assess the feasibility of conducting radiological screening overseas; the Container Security Initiative (CSI), which seeks to identify hazardous cargo in foreign ports; and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), which expedites inspections to supply-chain businesses that agree to undergo records checks.

Under President Obama’s budget request, funding for the Secure Freight Initiative would drop $16.5 million, the Container Security Initiative would take a $50 million cut, and C-TPAT would lose $12 million.