House Passes Bill That Includes Cargo Screening Provisions
By a vote of 299 - 128, the U.S. House of Representative tonight passed H.R. 1, legislation that includes a number of measures to implement the 9/11 commission. The bill contains a number of trade security measures. For example, section 406 of the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to establish a "system to inspect 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation to ensure the security of all such passenger aircraft carrying cargo" within three years from the date of enactment. Section 501 would require impose the following requirements on the entry of containers into the U.S.:
The container screening provision would be phased in over a five year period, although the screening of containers from large countries (those with 75,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers in 2005) would be required in three years.
H.R. 1 was sent to Senate, where it was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. It is unclear when the Senate will consider this bill. However, many Senators have expressed doubts about the cost and feasibility of several provisions in the House bill and a proposal to screen all inbound containers was defeated in the Senate in 2006.
The complete text of H.R. 1 can be found here.