The House Appropriations Committee today passed an amendment introduced by Congressman Bill Owens that would halt the proposed study of a "border fee." Owens introduced the amendment as part of the mark-up for the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Owens' amendment would bar the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from using any funding provided under this act to study or implement border crossing fees for passenger vehicles and pedestrians at the northern and southern borders.
"The idea of charging a border fee is wrong-headed, and the damage done to economic development and tourism along the border would cost more than the government could ever collect through fees," Owens said. "This amendment will bar the use of funds to study or implement a border fee, stopping the idea in its tracks. I am hopeful this amendment will continue through the legislative process and help convince DHS that it's time to drop the idea altogether."
The amendment will be included in the bill when it comes to the floor of the House for a vote later this year. 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. According to the Department's budget submission, 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 southwest borders of the United States. DHS requires completion of the study within 9 months of enactment.