WASHINGTON D.C.-- A Senate panel has moved to increase by $2 the fee paid by travelers who enter the U.S. by commercial sea and air carriers.
The provision would be used to pay for 1,000 new Customs agents and is attached to a $47 billion measure funding the budget of the Department of Homeland Security.
Air and sea travelers presently pay $7 when entering the country.
GOP Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana said he was reluctantly supporting the fee hike, which was authored by Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu to provide $166 million more for customs and border protection agents. Landrieu chairs the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee.
Supporters of the fee point out that in most instances it's paid by foreign travelers entering the U.S.