Higgins Asks Full Senate & House to Uphold Committee Action to Drop Border Fee Proposal
May 16, 2013
Congressman Says Land Crossing Toll Would Hurt National, Regional Economy
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives today calling on both Houses of Congress to follow through on committee action to eliminate a plan to study a new fee on citizens crossing the U.S. border by land.
The Department of Homeland Security’s budget proposal calls on U.S. Customs and Border Protection to "conduct a study…relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee for both land border pedestrians and passenger vehicles along the northern and southwest borders…”
Higgins first shed light on this plan in April. On May 9, 2013 the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont that blocks the creation of a land border crossing fee. On May 15, 2013 Congressman Higgins introduced and won approval of an amendment through the House Committee on Homeland Security also prohibiting the toll study. Video of Higgins pushing for approval of the amendment and arguing against the fee is available at: https://www.ustream.tv/recorded/32866661/highlight/357387
Below are Congressman Higgins’ remarks on the House Floor urging full implementation of measures prohibiting a study of a new land crossing toll:
(To access video click above or go to: https://youtu.be/j56R_SAnTgY)
“Mr. Speaker, Yesterday the Homeland Security Committee adopted my amendment to block a study of new fees for passengers and pedestrians crossing our borders. A similar amendment was successfully included in Senate legislation last week.
“The consensus for blocking this tax is welcome, but not surprising. Cross border travel is central to the economic viability of border communities, including my own in Western New York.
“Last year, 3 million Canadians visited our region, spending nearly 1 billion dollars. Canadians rely on seamless travel at one of my district’s five border crossings to travel from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, area businesses, and attend sporting and cultural events.
“Mr. Speaker, with the bipartisan support and bicameral support for this issue, I suggest that language blocking the border fees should be included in upcoming immigration reform legislation. This is a senseless tax, it’s counterproductive, and we should take every action to prevent it. “
• April 18, 2013: Higgins sounds the alarm on proposal and questions Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano about border fee study during House Committee hearing
• April 18, 2013: Higgins writes to Department of Homeland Security in opposition to new land crossing toll
• April 25, 2013: Higgins speaks out against proposed border crossing fee on House Floor
• April 25, 2013: Higgins, joined by other Northern Border representatives, leads national effort to oppose fee