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Higgins Opening Statement In Border Security Hearing

January 19, 2022

Higgins Opening Statement In Border Security Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee, delivered the following opening statement in a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Assessing the State of America’s Seaports.”

Ranking Member Higgins’ Opening Statement (as prepared for delivery)

Thank you, Chairwoman Barragan, for holding this important hearing today. I would also like to thank our witnesses for joining us, and especially to Director Richert Self from the Port of Lake Charles in my district.

In today’s global economy, maritime trade is a critical component of our nation’s daily life, commerce, and future. As many across the nation have seen recently, disruptions at our nation’s ports can have disastrous consequences to our nation’s supply chains and in our daily lives.

While the media and our government have focused heavily on the COVID related disruptions at ports in California and New York, there are ports around the nation, such as the port of Lake Charles, the 12th busiest port district in the country and the seventh fastest-growing seaport in America, which has faced natural disasters and COVID head on. The Port of Lake Charles relies on the Calcasieu Ship Channel for access to the gulf, and its’ main cargo includes petroleum coke, aluminum, forest products, steel, bulk grain, and other materials, making it an energy port.

The Port of Lake Charles was severely impacted by the two major hurricanes that hit the southwest Louisiana coast last year. The Port and associated businesses suffered over $240 million worth of damage between Hurricanes Laura & Delta that is still being addressed today. However, the primary issue faced by the Port and my district, is the slow pace of federal funding approvals from agencies like FEMA.

Ensuring our ports are fully functional and operational from Lake Charles to Los Angeles is key to our nation’s recovery. A healthy port system greatly contributes to our national and economic security. I look forward to hearing from all our witnesses today, and I hope we in Congress can work together to solve many of the challenges our nation’s seaports face.

Madam Chairwoman, I yield back.