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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Independent John Kline Votes No on Port Security

Almost three weeks ago, John Kline expressed doubts about the wisdom of selling operational control of some U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the royal family of the United Arab Emirates:

I am very skeptical about the wisdom of letting a company from UAE run our ports. This seems like a bad idea to me. I will work against it unless the administration can convince me otherwise. The burden is on the administration to convince us that this is a wise thing to do.

Since it now appears that the DPW deal has been scuttled (and I'd like to emphasize, if I may, the word 'appears'), Republicans like Kline now seem content to return to their usual, criminally negligent practice of underfunding port security. In particular, this:

Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo amendment included:

  • $300 million to enable U.S. customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all 140 overseas ports that ship directly to the United States. Current funding only allows U.S. customs agents to operate at 43 of these ports.
  • $400 million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. Currently, less than half of U.S. ports have radiation monitors.
  • $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.

Yes, "independent" John Kline joined 209 Republicans and zero Democrats in defeating Sabo's amendment.

Coincidentally, another Minnesota Democrat, Jim Oberstar, co-authored an amendment which would have required automated screening of 100% of shipping containers entering the U.S. That amendment was derailed on procedural grounds, so Kline never got a chance to vote against it. So technically I shouldn't even mention it here. Oops.

(Via Political Animal)


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