Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Member Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) and Chairman John Carter (R-TX31) today announced that the FY14 budget will authorize U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to initiate public-private partnership pilots for infrastructure improvements at ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border.
Millions of dollars in commerce cross the southern border every day. In 2012, trade between the United States and Mexico totaled over $470 billion, roughly the equivalent of $1.3 billion a day or $1 million a minute. The City of Laredo, the largest inland port in the country, accounts for 45 percent of all trade with Mexico. While this growth has created major economic benefits, it has also left CBP stretching resources to ensure its mission is accomplished.
To address the challenge of growing trade while also maintaining security at the border, Congressman Carter, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and Congressman Cuellar, who serves as a member of Chairman Carter's Subcommittee, offered legislation permitting CBP to enter into agreements with private industry to help grow travel and trade at U.S. ports-of-entry.
"Delays at the border cause the U.S. economy to lose billions of dollars in trade and commerce," said Congressman Cuellar. "Public-private partnerships provide an opportunity for state and local governments and business to step in where the federal government falls short. The passage of this initiative will allow the private sector to invest in infrastructure improvements at our ports of entry will be a win for border communities and the entire state of Texas. I thank Chairman Carter for his leadership on this issue and his willing to work with me and congratulate the ports that will benefit."
The 2014 Homeland Security Omnibus strengthens border security, promotes job growth through trade and provides critical security for the Homeland.
"Allowing Private/Public partnerships will help us secure our country while building a stronger economy and creating jobs inside and outside the United States," said Chairman Carter. "Through this initiative, we can grow our economies while encouraging trade in a safe and responsible manner."
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the omnibus later this week and send it to the Senate for approval before Federal spending expires on January 18