August 06,1999

Senate Passes Finance Committee Customs Legislation

WASHINGTON -- Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) announced that late Thursday night, by unanimous consent, the Senate approved the Customs Authorization Act, the Senate Finance Committee's amendment to H.R. 1833.

"The passage of the Customs Authorization Act, is a result of the Finance Committee's comprehensive oversight hearings that I conducted earlier this year. The bill is designed to ensure that Customs has the resources to meet the challenge of global commerce, while effectively enforcing the customs laws of the United States. The bill would also make certain changes in the management structure of the agency to ensure the continuity of many of the helpful changes already under way at the Customs Service under Commissioner Kelly's leadership," Roth stated.


•Significant increases in the authorized number of customs inspectors and special agents dedicated to moving legitimate commerce through the nation's ports while enhancing Customs' ability to interdict illegal narcotics and other contraband;

•Authorization for the use of new technologies that should allow Customs to operate more efficiently and with less cost while handling an increasing level of both inbound and outbound commercial traffic;

•Establishment of a working capital fund for the implementation of the Automated Commercial Environment, the Customs Service's proposed automated data processing system designed to accelerate the entry of commercial merchandise, improve the agency's ability to manage its operations, and enhance Customs' enforcement efforts;

•Establishment of a more robust internal compliance program within Customs to ensure that Customs is meeting the objectives set by Congress in its commercial operations, enforcement efforts, and internal management; and