WASHINGTON, DC– Only a few weeks after the Bush Administration approved the sale of British port operator Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation to a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), today a Republican-controlled House Subcommittee rejected a common-sense security measure to close the loophole that remains wide open for terrorists to sneak weapons of mass destruction into American ports across the country.  The amendment, which would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to ensure that containers heading for ports in the U.S. have been screened using radiation and X-ray detectors, before they are loaded onto boats headed for this country was offered by Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Democrat serving on the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity.  Rep. Markey’s amendment was defeated by a vote of (6-Y, 8-N), with every Democrat voting in yes and every Republican voting no. 

“We simply MUST screen everything BEFORE it reaches our shores, not after it arrives.  Right now only about 5% of all containers coming into our ports are physically inspected.  The technology already exists and it is being used both at the port of Hong Kong AND at the port of Boston to screen inbound cargo.  Once again, the Republican party has put the interests of private industry over the security concerns of millions of Americans,” said Rep. Markey.  “This vote demonstrates a clear difference in approaches to homeland security – Democrats support 100% screening while Republicans do not.”

“Congressman Markey's amendment today gave the members of the Homeland Security Committee a choice: vote for real security or vote for the status quo. I was disappointed to see that not one Republican would stand with the Democrats to make our country safer. I'm going to continue to work with Congressman Markey and our colleagues to secure our ports and move forward to protect our American communities,” said Rep. Nadler, author of H.R. 4899 – legislation to require 100% cargo screening.

For more work on Rep. Markey’s fight to provide 100% screening for cargo check out: http://markey.house.gov/


March 30, 2006


CONTACT: Tara McGuiness