Lawmakers Look To Address Broader Issue Of Port Security

The fight over a plan for an Arab company to take over operations at some U.S. ports may have been settled, but lawmakers say the larger issue of port security still needs to be addressed.

The company owned by the United Arab Emirates announced yesterday that it will transfer operations at six major U.S. ports to an American entity. That heads off a showdown between an administration that was standing firmly behind the plan, and congressional Democrats and Republicans who opposed it.

A House panel had overwhelmingly voted against the plan, and Republican leaders were warning President Bush that both the House and Senate were ready to reject it. In the aftermath of that fight, lawmakers say there's still an urgent need for legislation to protect America's ports.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says it's a problem that "still looms large." And Democrat Patty Murray says, "There are gaping holes in cargo and port security that need to be addressed."