Cross-Border Rail Security Act of 2015by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Posted on 2015-09-28
JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Homeland
Security Committee, I rise in support of H.R. 2786, the ``Cross-Border
Rail Security Act of 2015,'' which directs U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) to report to Congress on its inspection of high-risk
shipments entering the United States by rail.
[[Page H6285]] Specifically, H.R. 2786 requires the CBP to report on the following matters related to homeland security: the number of high-risk rail shipments annually entering the country; the status of radiation detection units at each border rail crossing; and an assessment of whether additional radiation detection equipment is necessary.
The bill also requires CBP to develop a plan for ensuring that all relevant CBP personnel receive adequate training and guidance on the proper use of CBP's Automated Targeting System for such shipments, and in the use of appropriate radiation detection equipment for shipment examination, and requirements for recording examination results.
H.R. 2786 bill also requires the General Accountability Office to periodically audit CBP operations at rail crossings on borders to ensure rail shipments are targeted, examined, and the examination results are well documented.
Mr. Speaker, this bill is good for our nation and for my congressional district, which is centered in Houston, Texas.
Houston has been the hub of railroad hub of Texas since the 1880s and is known as the place ``where 17 railroads meet the sea.'' It is also the ``the energy capital of the world.'' Freight from the Houston area goes by railroad to destinations all over the United States, including Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York City, Charleston, and Savannah.
Over 1 billion tons of freight travels through Houston area each year; no other state comes close to the level of trade the metropolitan Houston region experiences.
One billion tons of freight leaves the Houston area each year, nearly two/ thirds of which (645 million tons) involve goods come from foreign sources.
The top foreign freight origination point for the City of Houston is Mexico.
Mexico supplies over 50% of all international freight in the Houston area.
Europe and Canada are Houston's second largest foreign freight trading partners, accounting for over 27% of international freight in the Houston area.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in supporting H.R. 2786 because the safety of rail transit is critical to the security of the homeland and strength of our economy.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentlewoman from Arizona (Ms. McSally) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2786.