U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is drafting legislation to repeal a new $5.50 customs inspection fee that the federal government is set to begin charging travelers that enter the United States from Canada or Mexico by air or boat, said Sean Magers, a spokesman for the congressman.

The fee was among the issues that Owens discussed with Canadian officials at a meeting in Ottawa last week, Magers said.

Matt Doheny, who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Owens in 2012, issued a press release on Monday criticizing the new fee.

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Those entering the United States from Canada or Mexico have been exempt from the fee that already applies to travelers entering from all other countries.

A provision in the newly enacted Columbia Free Trade Act ends the exemption for those traveling from Canada and Mexico.

Owens voted against the Columbia Free Trade Act legislation, a bill which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., sponsored. Magers said. The bill passed the House by a vote of 262-167, largely with Republican support.

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