The Senate passed Senator John Kerry’s bi-partisan amendment to the Port Security bill (HR 4954) today, that will ensure that seaport personnel, law enforcement and first responders get the security training and support they need in order to be better prepared in the event of an attack.
Kerry’s amendment was accepted unanimously by the Senate. It would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement a Port Security Training Program and Port Security Exercise Program that will prepare ports to prevent and respond to a terrorist attack. The House version of HR 4954 makes these programs mandatory but, the Senate bill leaves it to the discretion of the DHS Secretary to implement them. The Kerry amendment will ensure that they are mandatory and implemented as soon as possible.
“Five years after 9/11, we know that we should be doing much more to reinforce our domestic security systems, and we know that training and exercise programs are critical in helping first responders, law enforcement, and seaport personnel deter terrorist attacks at our ports. DHS has failed to create and implement these important programs, and I believe it’s about time we ensure they do.”
Co-sponsors of the amendment include: Senators Lautenberg, Lieberman, Clinton, Akaka, Kennedy, Cantwell, Snowe, Inouye, Smith, Schumer, and Bill Nelson.