Port security is vital to the safety of all Americans. Therefore, when a transaction involving the operations of U.S. ports is proposed, it should have been reviewed carefully, in strict compliance with the law and in close consultation with Congress. In this case, none of that happened.
After the 62-2 vote in the House Appropriations Committee against the sale of port operations to DPW, it appears that Congressional concerns were finally acknowledged by the Bush Administration. As a result, on Thursday, March 9, 2006, DPW announced that despite their purchase of P&O, they would "transfer" control of U.S. port operations to a "U.S. entity". Further, on March 15, 2006, DPW clarified that the "American port operations will be sold as one group, and to a company that is clearly American controlled." They also said that until such a sale could be finalized, the U.S. ports would continue to be independently operated by P&O.
Resolving this particular case does not, however, resolve the national security issues at our ports. We need to ensure that there is adequate funding and personnel to implement the necessary security measures, such as cargo screening, at all of our ports. Therefore, I have cosponsored the United States Seaport Multiyear Security Enhancement Act that increases funding for port security and creates a permanent port security grant program within the Department of Homeland Security. I will continue to work to ensure our ports are protected.