House Dems concerned about diverting customs fees for highway bill

Four House Democrats expressed concern on Tuesday that a provision to help pay for a long-term highway bill would hamper U.S. customs efforts. 

Reps. Sandy Levin (Mich.) and Jim McDermottJames (Jim) Adelbert McDermottPortland hotel chain founded by Trump ambassador says boycott is attack on employees Bottom Line Promoting the voice of Korean Americans MORE (Wash.), members of the Ways and Means Committee and Reps. Bennie Thompson (Miss.) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), who are on the Homeland Security panel, said lawmakers should avoid tapping into customs-user fees amid a staffing shortage and other challenges.

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The four lawmakers filed an amendment with the House Rules Committee that would ensure the additional revenue stays in the customs user-fee account.

“Frustratingly, this break in precedent comes at a time when there is a staffing shortage of 1,811 customs officers across the United States,” the lawmakers said. 

“The funds generated by indexing customs user fees to inflation are desperately needed to ensure that our nation’s border is secure, mitigate long wait times at our border for both trade and travel, and ensure that the United States is in compliance with its international obligations."

They called on the House Rules Committee to adopt the amendment as part of a Senate-passed highway bill.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that the $325 billion transportation funding bill under consideration by the House is "a good example of how we're going to do the people's business." 

So far, lawmakers have offered nearly 270 amendments to the measure.