An amendment introduced by Congressman Bill Owens to halt a proposed "border fee" moved forward today with the House passage of the Fiscal Year 2014 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill. Owens' amendment, which he introduced in the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year, would prohibit the use of funds to study or implement any new land border crossing fees for passenger vehicles or pedestrians at the northern and southern borders.
"Adding a fee to cross the border would cause tremendous damage for the businesses that depend on cross-border tourism and commerce, while doing little to raise revenue for the government," Owens said. "I am grateful for the support my amendment has received from both sides of the aisle and will continue pushing to see that this prohibition on border fees is signed into law."
Owens, a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced his amendment in the Appropriations Committee earlier this year as part of the mark-up for the DHS Appropriations Bill. Owens is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus and opposed the border fee when it was first proposed.
The proposal to study a border fee was included in the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) FY2014 budget request. The study would assess "the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee." The proposed fee would apply to both the northern and southern land borders of the United States. The DHS request required that this study be completed within 9 months of the bill's enactment.