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Legislation > 2007-2008 (110th Congress) > S. 887
S. 887: A bill to restore import and entry agricultural inspection functions to the Department of...

Bill Status

Introduced: Mar 14, 2007
Sponsor: Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]
Status: Introduced
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Introduced in Senate: This is the original text of the bill as it was written by its sponsor and submitted to the House for consideration.

Text of Legislation

S 887 IS

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 887

To restore import and entry agricultural inspection functions to the Department of Agriculture.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 14, 2007

Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself and Mr. DURBIN) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs


A BILL

To restore import and entry agricultural inspection functions to the Department of Agriculture.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. RESTORATION OF IMPORT AND ENTRY AGRICULTURAL INSPECTION FUNCTIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

    (a) Repeal of Transfer of Functions- Section 421 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 231) is repealed.

    (b) Conforming Amendment to Function of Secretary of Homeland Security- Section 402 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 202) is amended--

      (1) by striking paragraph (7); and

      (2) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (7).

    (c) Transfer Agreement-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than the effective date described in subsection (g), the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall enter into an agreement to effectuate the return of functions required by the amendments made by this section.

      (2) USE OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES- The agreement may include authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to use employees of the Department of Homeland Security to carry out authorities delegated to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding the protection of domestic livestock and plants.

    (d) Restoration of Department of Agriculture Employees- Not later than the effective date described in subsection (e), all full-time equivalent positions of the Department of Agriculture transferred to the Department of Homeland Security under section 421(g) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 231(g)) (as in effect on the day before the effective date described in subsection (g)) shall be restored to the Department of Agriculture.

    (e) Authority of APHIS-

      (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM- The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service a program, to be known as the `International Agricultural Inspection Program', under which the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (referred to in this subsection as the `Administrator') shall carry out import and entry agricultural inspections.

      (2) INFORMATION GATHERING AND INSPECTIONS- In carrying out the program under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall have full access to--

        (A) each secure area of any terminal for screening passengers or cargo under the control of the Department of Homeland Security on the day before the date of enactment of this Act for purposes of carrying out inspections and gathering information; and

        (B) each database (including any database relating to cargo manifests or employee and business records) under the control of the Department of Homeland Security on the day before the date of enactment of this Act for purposes of gathering information.

      (3) INSPECTION ALERTS- The Administrator may issue inspection alerts, including by indicating cargo to be held for immediate inspection.

      (4) INSPECTION USER FEES- The Administrator may, as applicable--

        (A) continue to collect any agricultural quarantine inspection user fee; and

        (B) administer any reserve account for the fees.

      (5) CAREER TRACK PROGRAM-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall establish a program, to be known as the `import and entry agriculture inspector career track program', to support the development of long-term career professionals with expertise in import and entry agriculture inspection.

        (B) STRATEGIC PLAN AND TRAINING- In carrying out the program under this paragraph, the Administrator, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall--

          (i) develop a strategic plan to incorporate import and entry agricultural inspectors into the infrastructure protecting food, fiber, forests, bioenergy, and the environment of the United States from animal and plant pests, diseases, and noxious weeds; and

          (ii) as part of the plan under clause (i), provide training for import and entry agricultural inspectors participating in the program not less frequently than once each year to improve inspection skills.

    (f) Duties of Secretary-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this subsection as the `Secretary') shall--

        (A) develop standard operating procedures for inspection, monitoring, and auditing relating to import and entry agricultural inspections, in accordance with recommendations from the Comptroller General of the United States and reports of interagency advisory groups, as applicable; and

        (B) ensure that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a national electronic system with real-time tracking capability for monitoring, tracking, and reporting inspection activities of the Service.

      (2) FEDERAL AND STATE COOPERATION-

        (A) COMMUNICATION SYSTEM- The Secretary shall develop and maintain an integrated, real-time communication system with respect to import and entry agricultural inspections to alert State departments of agriculture of significant inspection findings of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

        (B) ADVISORY COMMITTEE-

          (i) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary shall establish a committee, to be known as the `International Trade Inspection Advisory Committee' (referred to in this subparagraph as the `committee'), to advise the Secretary on policies and other issues relating to import and entry agricultural inspection.

          (ii) MODEL- In establishing the committee, the Secretary shall use as a model the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee.

          (iii) MEMBERSHIP- The committee shall be composed of members representing--

            (I) State departments of agriculture;

            (II) directors of ports and airports in the United States;

            (III) the transportation industry;

            (IV) the public; and

            (V) such other entities as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

      (3) REPORT- Not less frequently than once each year, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report containing an assessment of--

        (A) the resource needs for import and entry agricultural inspection, including the number of inspectors required;

        (B) the adequacy of--

          (i) inspection and monitoring procedures and facilities in the United States; and

          (ii) the strategic plan developed under subsection (e)(5)(B)(i); and

        (C) new and potential technologies and practices, including recommendations regarding the technologies and practices, to improve import and entry agricultural inspection.

      (4) FUNDING- The Secretary shall pay the costs of each import and entry agricultural inspector employed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service--

        (A) from amounts made available to the Department of Agriculture for the applicable fiscal year; or

        (B) if amounts described in subparagraph (A) are unavailable, from amounts of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

    (g) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.