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Marine Log

February 22, 2006

Lawmakers undeterred by Bush veto threat

Lawmakers opposed to the takeover of U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World are undeterred by President George W. Bush's threat to veto legislation threatening the deal.

Yesterday Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. King and Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said they will introduce emergency legislation to suspend the take over.

"I will fight harder than ever for this legislation, and if it is vetoed I will fight as hard as I can to override it," said Rep. King, R-N.Y..

The $6.8 billion deal is scheduled to be closed on March 2, 2006 and was approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) last month.

The approval allows the UAE company to take control of significant operations at six ports on the East Coast, including: New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia.

While President Bush said yesterday that "the company will not manage port security" and that 'the security of our ports will continue to be managed by the Coast Guard and Customs," King and Schumer say that "except for cargo screening functions performed by the Department of Homeland Security, the port operator is responsible for securing cargo coming in and out of the port, the port facility itself, and the hiring of security personnel."

King and Senator Schumer announced plan to introduce and push emergency legislation in both the House and Senate when the chambers reconvene on Monday, Feb. 27.

King plans to try and have the bill placed on the House Suspensions Calendar, putting it on the fast track to passage. Schumer promised to try to have the Senate approve the bill by unanimous consent.

Their emergency bill will:

Require the President to place a stay on DP World's takeover of P&O ports.

Require the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States commence an immediate 45-day investigation on the takeover's effects on national security. The bill also requires CFIUS to coordinate with other agencies, such as the Coast Guard, and to take in to consideration past security assessments of ports operated by DP World.

Require the Secretaries of Homeland Security and the Treasury to prepare a full report and brief members of Congress on their findings.

Upon receiving the report, Congress would have the authority to disapprove the sale within thirty days.

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