Payne, Jr. Amendment Included in House-Passed Agricultural Security Bill

Sep 26, 2016 Issues: National Security

Washington, D.C. – An amendment introduced by Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, was included in legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Payne, Jr. amendment to H.R. 5346, the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, would improve coordination among Department of Homeland Security components on efforts related to protecting ports of entry.

“The Port of Newark and Newark Liberty International Airport play a critical role in securing our nation and protecting domestic agriculture. It is essential that these ports of entry, and others like them, are secure,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “This amendment is an important step toward ensuring that staffing needs at ports of entry are met to protect our food and agriculture sectors against potential threats.”

New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District is home to large international ports, including the Port of Newark and Newark Liberty International Airport. Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialists are on the frontlines at these ports of entry to protect domestic agriculture and food supply from foreign pathogens. Despite the large size and enormous volume of these two ports, there is a shortage of Agriculture Specialists.

Congressman Payne, Jr.’s amendment directs the DHS’s Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs to coordinate activities with other DHS components, including Customs and Border Protection, in order to better inform staffing decisions at U.S. ports of entry.

Also on Monday, the House passed legislation introduced by Congressman Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), H.R. 5460, The First Responder Access to Innovative Technologies Act, which would make it easier for first responders to acquire new equipment and technologies they need to respond to evolving threats.