H.R. 548: Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2013

113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Feb 06, 2013 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO and Cato Institute Deepbills

I

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 548

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 6, 2013

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To restore growth, spur job creation, build momentum toward economic recovery for border communities and the United States, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2013 .

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The United States and Mexico share a border of nearly 2,000 miles, a cultural heritage, and a desire to grow both economies through cooperation and hard work.

(2)

Border commerce is vital to the United States economy. Mexico is the United States third-largest trading partner, behind only Canada and China. In 2010, trade between the United States and Mexico reached $367,000,000,000, amounting to more than $1,000,000,000 per day.

(3)

Mexico is the second-largest export market for United States businesses and approximately 22 States depend on Mexico as their number one or two trading partner.

(4)

The growth of international trade has outpaced United States land ports of entry’s workload capacity, resulting in congestion and delays. This increased congestion hurts businesses that rely on safe and efficient cross-border traffic.

3.

United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Commission

(a)

Establishment of commission

(1)

In general

There is established an independent commission to be known as the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Commission (referred to in this section as the Commission).

(2)

Purposes

The purposes of the Commission are to—

(A)

study the overall economic strategies, programs, and policies of Federal departments and agencies along the United States-Mexico border, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, and other relevant departments and agencies;

(B)

strengthen relations and collaboration between communities along the United States-Mexico border and the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal departments and agencies that carry out such strategies, programs, and policies; and

(C)

make recommendations to the President and Congress with respect to such strategies, programs, and policies.

(3)

Membership

(A)

Voting members

The Commission shall be composed of 16 voting members. The Governors of the States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas shall each appoint four such members, of whom—

(i)

one shall be a local elected official from each such State’s border region;

(ii)

one shall be an individual from academia or a community leader of each such State; and

(iii)

two shall be from each such State’s border region business community.

(B)

Nonvoting members

The Commission shall be composed of two nonvoting members, of whom—

(i)

one shall be appointed by the Secretary of Homeland Security; and

(ii)

one shall be appointed by the Secretary of Commerce.

(4)

Qualifications

(A)

In general

Members of the Commission shall be—

(i)

individuals with expertise in migration, border enforcement and protection, civil and human rights, community relations, cross-border trade and commerce, or other pertinent qualifications or experience; and

(ii)

representative of a broad cross section of perspectives from the region along the international border between the United States and Mexico.

(B)

Political affiliation

Not more than two members of the Commission appointed by each Governor in accordance with paragraph (3)(A) may be members of the same political party.

(C)

Nongovernmental appointees

An individual appointed as a voting member to the Commission may not be an officer or employee of the Federal Government.

(5)

Deadline for appointment

All members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act. If any member of the Commission described in paragraph (3)(A) is not appointed by such date, the Commission shall carry out its duties under this section without participation of such member.

(6)

Term of service

The term of office for members shall be for the life of the Commission.

(7)

Vacancies

Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made.

(8)

Meetings

(A)

Initial meeting

The Commission shall meet and begin the operations of the Commission as soon as practical.

(B)

Subsequent meetings

After its initial meeting, the Commission shall meet upon the call of the chairman or a majority of its members.

(C)

Outreach

The Commission shall formulate and implement an effective outreach strategy to border communities along the United States-Mexico border.

(9)

Quorum

Nine members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

(10)

Chair and vice chair

The voting members of the Commission shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its voting members. The term of office shall be for the life of the Commission.

(11)

Structure

The Commission shall have a Federal, regional, and local review structure, and shall be divided into two subcommittees, one such subcommittee focused on border technology, equipment, and infrastructure, and one such subcommittee focused on cross-border trade policies and programs.

(b)

Duties

The Commission shall review and examine cross-border trade policies, strategies, and programs with Mexico, including—

(1)

the effect of operations, technology, and infrastructure along such border on the—

(A)

environment;

(B)

cross-border traffic and commerce;

(C)

privacy rights and other civil liberties; and

(D)

the quality of life of border communities;

(2)

the extent of the negative economic impact, if any, on the United States due to staffing needs at land ports of entry along the such border;

(3)

whether border policies and practices ensure that the free flow of legitimate travel and commerce is not diminished by efforts, activities, and programs aimed at securing the international land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border; and

(4)

any other matters regarding cross-border trade policies, strategies, and programs the Commission determines appropriate.

(c)

Powers of commission

(1)

In general

(A)

Hearings and evidence

The Commission or, on the authority of the Commission, any subcommittee or member thereof, may, for the purpose of carrying out this Act—

(i)

hold such hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, administer such oaths; and

(ii)

subject to subparagraph (B), require, by subpoena or otherwise, the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and the production of such books, records, correspondence, memoranda, papers, and documents as the Commission or such designated subcommittee or designated member may determine advisable.

(B)

Subpoenas

(i)

Issuance

A subpoena may be issued under this subsection only—

(I)

by the agreement of the chairman and the vice chairman; or

(II)

by the affirmative vote of six members of the Commission.

(ii)

Signature

Subject to clause (i), subpoenas issued under this subsection may be issued under the signature of the chairman or any member designated by a majority of the Commission, and may be served by any person designated by the chairman or by a member designated by a majority of the Commission.

(iii)

Enforcement

In the case of contumacy or failure to obey a subpoena issued under this paragraph, the United States district court for the judicial district in which the subpoenaed person resides, is served, or may be found, or where the subpoena is returnable, may issue an order requiring such person to appear at any designated place to testify or to produce documentary or other evidence. Any failure to obey the order of such court may be punished by such court as a contempt of such court.

(2)

Contracting

The Commission may, to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in appropriation Acts, enter into contracts to enable the Commission to discharge its duties under this Act.

(3)

Information from Federal agencies

(A)

In general

The Commission is authorized to secure directly from any executive department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality of the Government, information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics for the purposes of carrying out this Act. Each such department, bureau, agency, board, commission, office, independent establishment, or instrumentality shall, to the extent authorized by law, furnish such information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics directly to the Commission, upon request made by the chairman, the chairman of any subcommittee created by a majority of the Commission, or any member designated by a majority of the Commission.

(B)

Receipt, handling, storage, and dissemination

Information, suggestions, estimates, and statistics referred to in subparagraph (A) shall only be received, handled, stored, and disseminated by members of the Commission and its staff in accordance with all applicable statutes, regulations, and Executive orders.

(4)

Assistance from Federal agencies

(A)

General Services Administration

The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis administrative support and other services for the performance of the Commission’s functions.

(B)

Other departments and agencies

In addition to the assistance prescribed in subparagraph (A), the heads of Federal departments and agencies may provide to the Commission such services, funds, facilities, staff, and other support services as they may determine advisable and as may be authorized by law.

(5)

Postal services

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as Federal departments and agencies of the United States.

(d)

Compensation

(1)

In general

Members of the Commission shall serve without pay.

(2)

Reimbursement of expenses

All members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses and subsistence, and other reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by such members in the performance of their duties.

(e)

Training

The Commission shall establish a process and criteria by which Commission members receive orientation and training on cross-border trade policies, strategies, and programs with respect to Mexico.

(f)

Report

Not later than two years after the date of the first meeting called pursuant to subsection (a)(8)(A), the Commission shall submit to the President, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of Commerce, and Congress a report that contains—

(1)

findings with respect to the duties of the Commission;

(2)

recommendations regarding cross-border trade policies, strategies, and programs with respect to Mexico;

(3)

suggestions for the implementation of such recommendations; and

(4)

a recommendation as to whether the Commission should continue to exist after the date of termination described in subsection (i), and if so, a description of the purposes and duties recommended to be carried out by the Commission after such date.

(g)

Response to report

Not later than 180 days after the receipt of the report required under subsection (f), the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Commerce shall jointly issue a response describing how the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Commerce will implement the recommendations contained in such report.

(h)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section .

(i)

Sunset

Unless the Commission is re-authorized by Congress, the Commission shall terminate on the date that is 60 days after the date the Commission submits the report described in subsection (f).

4.

Port security and trade facilitation grants

(a)

Grant program

The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall establish a program under which grants may be provided to develop and expand trusted shipper programs for small- and medium-sized businesses for the purpose of facilitating border commerce.

(b)

Applications and conditions

In carrying out the grant program described in subsection (a), the Secretary of Commerce

(1)

shall establish a notification and application procedure; and

(2)

may establish such conditions, and require such assurances, as may be appropriate to ensure the efficiency and integrity of the grant program.

(c)

Sunset

The grant program described in subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is five years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d)

Limitation

The sum for all fiscal years of the amounts awarded as grants under this section may not exceed $10,000,000.

5.

Improving ports of entry on the southwest border for border security and other purposes

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator of the General Services Administration

(1)

$200,000,000 for fiscal 2014 solely for planning, management, design, alteration, and construction of United States Customs and Border Protection owned land border ports of entry along the international border between the United States and Mexico; and

(2)

$100,000,000 for fiscal year 2014 solely for the installation of renewable energy retrofits at land border ports of entry along the international border between the United States and Mexico.

(b)

Allocation of authorized funds

Of the amounts authorized to be appropriated pursuant to subsection (a)(1)

(1)

not more than 40 percent may be set aside for the San Luis I land port of entry; and

(2)

not more than 60 percent may be set aside for the Douglas land port of entry.

6.

Improving waste water treatment infrastructure

There are authorized to be appropriated to the International Boundary and Water Commission $50,000,000 for fiscal 2014 solely for planning, management, design, alteration, and construction of the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) and the Nogales Wash Channel.

7.

Improving cross-border transportation

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Federal Highway Administration $100,000,000 for fiscal 2014 for—

(1)

improvements to existing transportation and supporting infrastructure along the United States-Mexico border;

(2)

construction of highways and related safety and enforcement facilities related to international trade with Mexico; and

(3)

international coordination of transportation planning, programming, and border operations with Mexico.

(b)

Allocation of authorized funds

Of amounts authorized to be appropriated pursuant to subsection (a), not more than 30 percent may be set aside for projects 50 miles from the United States-Mexico border.

8.

Increase in number of Customs and Border Protection officers on the southwest border of the United States

(a)

Customs and Border Protection officers

During fiscal year 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall increase by not fewer than 500 the total number of full-time, active-duty Customs and Border Protection officers within United States Customs and Border Protection for posting at United States ports of entry along the southern border above the number of such officers for which funds were made available during fiscal year 2013.

(b)

Agriculture specialists

During fiscal year 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall increase by not fewer than 30 the number of full-time Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists for United States ports of entry along the southern border above the number of such agriculture specialists for which funds were made available during fiscal year 2013.

(c)

Border security support personnel

During fiscal year 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall increase by not fewer than 10 the number of full-time border security support personnel for United States ports of entry along the southern border above the number of such support personnel for which funds were made available during fiscal year 2013.

(d)

Priority

In making personnel additions described in subsections (a), (b), and (c), the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection shall give priority to the Tucson Sector.

9.

Southwest border strategy for security and prosperity

(a)

Requirement for strategy

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the heads of other appropriate Federal departments and agencies, shall develop and annually update a Southwest Border Strategy for Security and Prosperity that describes actions to be carried out to facilitate trade and maintain operational control over all land ports of entry into the United States along the southern border.

(b)

Content

The Southwest Border Strategy for Security and Prosperity described in subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1)

An assessment of staffing needs for all land ports of entry into the United States along the southern border.

(2)

An assessment of infrastructure needs for all land ports of entry into the United States along the southern border.

(3)

An assessment of the traffic patterns of commercial and passenger vehicles entering and exiting the United States at land ports of entry along the southern border.

(4)

An assessment of the negative economic impact, if any, on the United States due to wait times at land ports of entry along the southern border.

(5)

A description of ways to ensure that the free flow of legitimate travel and commerce is not diminished by efforts, activities, or programs aimed at securing the international land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border.

(6)

A schedule for the implementation of the security measures described in such Strategy, including realistic deadlines for addressing staffing and infrastructure needs identified in paragraphs (1) and (2), an estimate of the resources needed to carry out such measures, and a description of how such resources should be allocated.

(c)

Consultation

In developing the Southwest Border Strategy for Security and Prosperity under this section, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall also consult with representatives of—

(1)

State, local, and tribal authorities from Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas; and

(2)

appropriate private sector entities, nongovernmental organizations, and affected communities that have expertise in areas related to border management and international trade across southern ports of entry.

(d)

Submission to Congress

(1)

Strategy

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to Congress the Southwest Border Strategy for Security and Prosperity.

(2)

Updates

In addition to the timeline for submissions of the Southwest Border Strategy for Security and Prosperity described in paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to Congress any change of such Strategy that the Secretary determines is necessary, not later than 30 days after such determination.

10.

Border technology and innovation

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Homeland Security $200,000,000 for fiscal year 2014 solely for integrated fixed towers, remote video cameras, hand-held devices, mobile systems, and other technologies in Arizona.

11.

Border small business revitalization grants

(a)

Grant program

The Administrator of the Small Business Administration shall establish a program under which grants may be provided to develop and revitalize small businesses located along the United States-Mexico border.

(b)

Applications and conditions

In conducting the grant program described in subsection (a), the Administrator—

(1)

shall establish a notification and application procedure; and

(2)

may establish such conditions, and require such assurances, as may be appropriate to ensure the efficiency and integrity of such grant program.

(c)

Sunset

The grant program described in subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is five years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(d)

Limitation

(1)

In general

The sum for all fiscal years of the amounts awarded as grants under this section may not exceed $100,000,000.

(2)

Requirement

To be eligible for a grant under this section, a small business shall be located within 10 miles of the United States-Mexico border.

12.

Federal contracting requirements

(a)

In general

(1)

Local subcontractor

Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), the head of an Executive agency may not award a contract unless 30 percent of the labor for the performance of the contract (or any subcontract (at any tier) under the contract) is performed by a local subcontractor.

(2)

State subcontractor

Notwithstanding paragraph (1) and except as provided in paragraph (3), if the head of an Executive agency determines that the requirement of paragraph (1) is not practicable, such head may award a contract if 30 percent of the labor for the performance of the contract (or any subcontract (at any tier) under the contract) is performed by a State subcontractor.

(3)

Waiver of requirement

Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), if the head of an Executive agency determines that the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) are not practicable, such head may award a contract without meeting such requirements.

(b)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Executive agency

The term Executive agency has the meaning given that term in section 133 of title 41, United States Code.

(2)

Local subcontractor

The term local subcontractor means, with respect to a contract, a subcontractor who has a principal place of business or regularly conducts operations in the area in which work is to be performed under the contract by the subcontractor.

(3)

State

The term State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, each territory or possession of the United States, and each federally recognized Indian tribe.

(4)

State subcontractor

The term State subcontractor means, with respect to a contract, a subcontractor who has a principal place of business or regularly conducts operations in the State in which work is to be performed under the contract by the subcontractor.

(c)

Applicability

The requirements under this section shall apply to agreements entered into on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.