(WASHINGTON, DC) -- With a federal deadline looming for port security plans from shippers and ports around the country, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today announced that a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has agreed to her plan to develop uniform, cargo security standards, which Murray has been calling on the Administration to develop.
The Murray language directs the Department of Homeland Security to provide Congress with a specific schedule for developing and implementing cargo security standards, based on the results of ongoing DHS programs, including Operation Safe Commerce, CSI, C-TPAT and others. The report is due to Congress by February 8, 2005.
The Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, of which Murray is a member, today included the language in passing the FY2005 Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The bill now moves to the full committee for consideration.
"Creating a new, inclusive security regime for our ports is an essential piece to our ongoing efforts to fight terrorism and improve our homeland security. We've made some progress with these ongoing programs, but now is the time to find, fund and implement a comprehensive solution," Murray said. "Ultimately I hope these efforts will lead to developing and instituting the cargo security standards we need to protect our cargo, our ports and our communities."
Since the attacks of 9/11, Senator Murray has been working to create a uniform security protocol for ports around the country. In meetings and hearings she chaired soon after 9/11, Murray found security at our ports severely lacking. Since then, she authored the Operation Safe Commerce legislation, which uses innovative new technology to track foreign cargo containers from their point of origin, through their entry into our country, and onto their final destination. There are 18 pilot OSC programs ongoing, and today's announcement calls for an assessment of its success, as well as the success of other cargo programs.
Senator Murray has been Washington state's most effective leader in securing federal resources for homeland security. Murray has secured 5 new Coast Guard vessels and crews to beef up patrols in the Puget Sound. Murray is responsible for bringing the first Coast Guard anti-terror "SWAT Team" to Seattle to provide rapid interdiction of maritime threats. She has also been a long-time advocate for increasing resources to the Northern Border and helped provide funding to significantly increase the numbers of INS and Customs agents on the Northern Border.
Last August, the Journal of Commerce named Murray the "New Champion for Port Security." In March, Murray was named Port Person of the Year by the American Association of Port Authorities and in May she was named the 2004 Master Mariner by the Tacoma Propeller Club and Elected Official of the Year by the Seattle Propeller Club.