Monday, February 27, 2006

We must do better for port security

From Mary Jo...

I'm sure you agree that port security is not an issue to be taken likely -- as a nation, our safety depends on our ability to protect ourselves at every entry. Today we issued a release about the recent controversy. We deserve better in this area than what we've seen from my opponent.

Mary Jo


KILROY: “Deborah Pryce has a pre-911worldview on port security. We must immediately implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, and create a comprehensive plan for securing our ports.”

(Columbus, Ohio)- Franklin County Commissioner and Democratic Congressional Candidate Mary Jo Kilroy challenged Deborah Pryce’s record on port security today. Kilroy said the United States should immediately cancel the sale, implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, and create a comprehensive plan for securing the nation’s ports.

Commissioner Kilroy said, “Deborah Pryce has a pre-911 worldview of protecting our ports. As chair of the subcommittee with direct oversight over the Dubai port security sale, Pryce initially approved outsourcing our national security to a country used by 9/11 hijackers as an operational and financial base. Only after Democrats discovered this sale and raised questions did she acknowledge a problem.”

Kilroy added, “Deborah Pryce is giving aid and comfort to the Bush administration and its wrongheaded view of our security by refusing to call on the President to cancel this sale. Rather than rubber-stamping every Bush administration policy, she should have been doing her job and providing the oversight necessary to secure our most vulnerable national infrastructure. I call on President Bush to cancel this sale immediately.”

Kilroy noted that Pryce has repeatedly voted against increasing port security funding First in 2003, Pryce voted against $250 million earmarked for port security grants. Then as recently as last Fall, while the Dubai port sale was still pending, she voted against a proposal calling for an additional $400 million in funding for port security, including $13 million to double the number of new overseas port inspectors provided for in the President’s budget. That proposal addressed the holes in securing the nation’s ports by requiring DHS to develop container security standards, integrate container security pilot projects, and examine ways to integrate container inspection equipment and data.

“More than five years after 9/11, American ports are not as safe. Without implementing all of the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, and creating a comprehensive plan for securing our ports, the President and the Republican Congress have not fulfilled their responsibility to keep Americans safe. Instead of moving us toward these goals of increased safety, Deborah Pryce’s decisions are holding the nation back and endangering us all.”

Pryce chairs House of Representative Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy ("DIMP") which oversees Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States ("CFIUS"), the Federal agency that approved selling the management rights of six of the nation's ports to Dubai Ports World, a state-owned company of the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. seaports handle over 95% of our nation’s foreign trade worth over $1 trillion a year. A weapon of mass destruction detonated in a container at a seaport could cause tremendous casualties and an estimated economic loss ranging from $58 billion to $1 trillion. The 9/11 Commission report concluded that terrorists have the opportunity to do harm as great or greater in maritime and surface transportation than the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that ports will have to spend $5.4 billion over ten years to maintain a basic level of security.

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