DearColleague.us

Letter

Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Frederica S. Wilson
Sent By: Kyle.Johnson@mail.house.gov
Date: 3/20/2015

Require the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Proposed Rule to Increase Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Fees to Undergo Negotiated Rulemaking
*This is a Language Request*
Closing TODAY, Friday, March 20

Bipartisan cosponsors: Frederica S. Wilson, Mario Diaz-Balart, Corrine Brown, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Kevin Cramer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Alcee L. Hastings, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Sheila Jackson Lee, William R. Keating, Carlos Curbelo, Bradley Byrne, Julia Brownley, Ted Deutch, Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Vern Buchanan,
Endorsed by: American Association of Port Authorities, National Pest Management Association, Cruise Lines International Association, Florida Ports Council, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Latin American Business Association, Cargo Airline Association, Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance, National Industrial Transportation League, Wasserman & Associates, PortMiami, Express Delivery and Logistics Association, United States Great Lakes Shipping Association, Broward County’s Port Everglades, Florida Perishables Trade Coalition, Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay, Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association, Diamond State Port Corporation/Port of Wilmington, Delaware

Dear Colleague:
Please join us in sending a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies to prohibit spending of funds for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) rule to increase Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) fees until the proposal undergoes a negotiated rulemaking process.
Overall, the proposed rule increases AQI fees by $530.6 million. While we recognize the importance of safeguarding against invasive pests, we are very concerned with the fact that APHIS did not properly engage stakeholders and has not conducted a thorough review of the potential impact to U.S. trade and commerce.
Please join us in supporting port-related businesses such as importers, commercial truckers, cargo and passenger vessels, and aircraft. For more information and to sign on to this letter, please contact Kyle Johnson (kyle.johnson@mail.house.gov) in Congresswoman Wilson’s office, or Miguel Mendoza (miguel.mendoza@mail.house.gov) in Congressman Diaz-Balart’s office.
Sincerely,

Frederica S. Wilson Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of Congress Member of Congress

March 23, 2015
Honorable Robert B. Aderholt, Chairman
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and
Related Agencies
2362 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Sam Farr, Ranking Member
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and
Related Agencies
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Farr,
We write to express concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) pending rulemaking increasing Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) fees.
According to APHIS, the proposal increases AQI user fees by $530.6 million, much of which will be borne by small, port-related businesses such as importers, commercial truckers, cargo and passenger vessels, and aircraft. The proposed rule increases AQI fees for commercial trucks by 52 percent, commercial trucks with transponders by 205 percent, commercial vessels by 66 percent, and commercial aircraft by 218 percent. It also establishes a $375 per pest treatment fee, a $2 fee for each international cruise passenger, and lifts the fee caps for commercial trucks, vessels, and railcars. For example, under the proposal a commercial cargo vessel with a weekly call to the U.S. from the Caribbean would pay $42,900, which is nearly five times the current fee. Furthermore, some cruise vessels could pay as much as $600,000 annually.
While we recognize that APHIS has not raised fees in 10 years and that it is vital to safeguard our borders from destructive invasive pests, APHIS did not thoroughly review the potential impact to U.S. trade and commerce and also failed to engage stakeholders in the development of the rule. As a result, we are worried that jobs will be lost and affected industries will suffer.
Therefore, we ask that the committee prohibit the use of FY ‘16 appropriations or any APHIS generated fees for implementing the proposed rule until such time as APHIS negotiates a more workable proposal with all impacted stakeholders pursuant to negotiated rulemaking procedures.
Bill Language Request: Department of Agriculture—SEC. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the proposed rule entitled “User Fees for Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection Services”, published by the Department of Agriculture in the Federal Register on April 25, 2014 (79 Fed. Reg. 22895 et seq.), except in compliance with the procedures described in subchapter III of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Sincerely,

Frederica S. Wilson Mario Diaz-Balart
Member of Congress Member of Congress