Gluesenkamp Perez, Lee Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Port Inspection Services

Nov 14, 2023

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Rep. Laurel Lee (FL-15) introduced the bipartisan CBP SPACE Act to ensure Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection services stay operational without resulting in additional expenses to ports of entry and small businesses.

Customs and Border Protection provides security and facilitation operations at ports of entry throughout the country. Currently, there are no restrictions on what requests CBP may ask ports to provide in order to complete inspection services. Ports have encountered situations where CBP makes significant demands for facility upgrades, coupled with the threat of reducing inspection windows.

The CBP SPACE Act would create a sustainable funding mechanism for CBP facilities at ports and limit the demands CBP could make of ports. Specifically, the bill:

  • Expands permissible offsets when setting merchandise processing fees (MPFs)  rates to include capital costs associated with CBP passenger inspection services.
  • Establishes a sense of Congress that the Treasury and CBP should work to set an appropriate level for rates so CBP is able to adequately fund facility upgrades, construction, and maintenance at ports.
  • Prohibits CBP from requiring ports to provide or maintain administrative, training, or recreational facilities at the port of entry.

“Ports are critical to our economy in Southwest Washington,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I’m grateful for Rep. Lee’s partnership on this bipartisan legislation to properly fund inspection services and ensure local small businesses don’t carry the expense of ensuring our imports are fentanyl-free.”

“Seaports contribute trillions of dollars to our economy every year while protecting our communities from dangerous contraband and harmful diseases. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plays a critical role in helping our ports screen incoming cargo and visitors every day,” said Rep. Laurel Lee. “However, recent demands from CBP requesting ports pay for new and expensive equipment are highly concerning. What is more concerning is that CBP has threatened to reduce CBP officers at some ports and threatened to cease operations at others should their demands not be met. The lack of resources is both a major threat to our national security and would only further strain our congested supply chains.”

“A resilient and strong national supply chain is only possible when ports and CBP are working together well,” said Julianna Marler, Port of Vancouver USA CEO and AAPA Board Member. “On behalf of my port and every other global trade gateway, I extend my sincere thanks to Representatives Lee and Gluesenkamp Perez for introducing this legislation that would set up a dedicated revenue source for CBP to execute its mission at our facilities.”

“CBP is an indispensable partner in the important work of America’s seaports, and we are incredibly grateful for all the agency does to protect our nation and economy,” said Cary S. Davis, AAPA President and CEO. “The agency’s costs and other operational needs, however, are historically and Constitutionally a responsibility of the Federal Government, not of ports. Thank you to Congresswomen Lee and Gluesenkamp Perez for recognizing that the government is obligated to pay for customs inspections so ports can focus on other upgrades to keep cargo moving.”

Read the full text of the bill here.

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