News Releases

Port Security: Murray Adds $295 Million to Speed Implementation of Her Landmark Port Security Law

Mar 22 2007

Bush Administration Shortchanged SAFE Ports Act in its FY 2008 Budget, But Murray Delivers in Supplemental Spending Bill

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) added $295 million to the Senate Supplemental spending bill to speed implementation of her landmark SAFE Ports Act. The additional dollars will fully fund Port Security Grants, support cargo screening overseas, hire new Customs officers, and establish new security measures across the country.

"The SAFE Ports Act provides a comprehensive system to protect our people and our economy from terrorists, but it only works if it's adequately funded," Murray said. "The White House has not put the dollars behind port security that are needed, so I'm doing it in the Senate."

Murray co-authored the SAFE Ports Act with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). President Bush signed it into law in October 2006, but in February the President's FY 2008 did not provide adequate funding to implement the law. Today, Murray added port security funding to the Senate supplemental spending bill. With Murray's vote, the bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and next heads to the Senate floor.

Specifically, Murray's funding:

Fully funds Port Security Grants at $400 million ($190 million add)
The SAFE Ports Act authorized $400 million in Port security grants, but the Bush Administration only provided $210 million in the President's FY 2008 budget. Murray added $190 million in the Senate Supplemental today, bringing funding up to the fully authorized level.

Provides additional funding to scan cargo overseas and implement the SAFE Ports Act ($100 million add)

Funds Security Improvements at the Port of Tacoma ($5 million add)
The SAFE Ports Act, at Murray's insistence, creates a test center to screen cargo moving from ship to rail at the Port of Tacoma. The President did not provide funding in his budget for the test center. Murray added $5 million to the Supplemental to establish the test center at the Port of Tacoma.

In addition, Murray added another $40 million for Customs and Border Protection. A portion of that funding will be used to hire additional Customs officers to help keep trade moving efficiently while improving security.

The original bill, as introduced by Senators Murray and Collins, contained a dedicated funding source to implement the SAFE Ports Act. Unfortunately, that dedicated funding provision was stripped from the bill and attempts to restore this provision failed. As a result, funding to implement the law must be provided through the appropriations process.

Immediately after the President signed the SAFE Ports Act into law, Senator Murray wrote to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to insist that funding to implement the law be included in the President's budget request. Regrettably, the President's budget left out important funding for this effort.