Thursday, April 27, 2006

Conservatives Bow to Industry, Block Amendment to Scan All Shipping Containers

Early this afternoon, conservatives in the House Homeland Security Committee voted down an amendment by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would have mandated 100 percent scanning of American-bound shipping containers for radiological weapons.

The vote followed an “
aggressive lobbying campaign” by a “coalition of industry groups” who pressed conservative members to oppose the amendment. Yesterday, committee chairman Peter King (R-NY) announced that he was caving to industry interests. His excuse was that Markey’s plan was “not realistic“:

There’s no sense putting something in the bill if it’s not realistic, if it’s not going to be implemented and can’t be done. We want a real bill, not a headline.

In fact, the plan is realistic: for well over a year, Hong Kong has been successfully using high tech screening machines to
inspect every single container. Achieving that in the United States will undoubtedly take time, but it is technologically feasible, and should be our number one port security priority. Businesses that rely on shipping simply don’t want to spend the money, and conservatives are bending to their will at the expense of our homeland security.

Copy of the Markey amendment


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