By  on March 6, 2007

WASHINGTON — House and Senate Democrats have urged Wal-Mart president and chief executive officer H. Lee Scott to support a proposal requiring 100 percent scanning of all U.S.-bound cargo containers at foreign ports, a measure many importers and shippers oppose.

Sens. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), Barack Obama (D., Ill.), Edward Kennedy (D., Mass.) and six other senators said in a letter that the largest U.S. importer of foreign goods has an obligation to advance new standards for the scanning of U.S.-bound cargo for potential weapons and radiological or nuclear devices and called on Wal-Mart's support for a measure that is now before Congress.

Wal-Mart, through its trade and lobbying association in Washington, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, has opposed the measure on grounds that technology is not available for such a mandate and that Congress should allow a pilot project testing scanning technology at three foreign ports, launched under a port security bill last year, to develop and produce results before considering a mandate.

A letter signed by 21 House members was also sent to Scott.

The Senate defeated an amendment Thursday night to a national security bill that would have required 100 percent scanning of all U.S.-bound cargo containers at large ports within three years and at small ports within five years. The House passed legislation with the same requirement.

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