Niagara Gazette — The House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday voted to remove a proposed federal study from border security legislation that would have examined instituting a fee for crossing the U.S.-Canadian border.
Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said the fee, which lawmakers in the Western New York delegation and in states and congressional districts in multiple states bordering Canada assailed as a threat to cross-border commerce, said the study was nixed during the committee's markup of the bill, the Border Security Results Act of 2013.
The committee unanimously agreed to scrap the study.
“This is a huge victory for Western New York and other communities across the Northern Border that rely on the seamless flow of people and goods between the U.S. and Canada to support our economies,” Higgins said in a statement after the vote. “The fee would have put an unfair burden on residents who frequently travel across the border and the cost of the proposed study would have taken resources, already stretched thin, away from significantly more critical security needs.”
Higgins first raised the issue with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano during a hearing last month first via letter, then during testimony before the Homeland Security Committee. Napolitano said at the time she was unaware of a proposed border-crossing fee.