- Administration postpones implementation,
Congress sets hearings
- WASHINGTON -- The implementation of regulations already approved by Congress
and the president creating national standards for state identification
cards has been postponed.
- U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-GA, announced Friday
that his office has received a commitment from the Subcommittee on National
Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs to hold hearings
on the plan next month.
- The regulations would have created a
national ID card by Oct. 1, 2000. The Department of Transportation had
been making final plans to create uniform federal standards for state-issued
driver's licenses and county-issued birth certificates. The plans were
a direct result of an obscure section of the Illegal Immigration Reform
and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which authorized the U.S. Department
of Transportation to establish national requirements for driver's licenses
-- making them, in effect, national ID cards.
- The immigration bill was overwhelmingly
approved by Congress, including members, like Barr, who say they didn't
realize the law included provisions for a national ID card. That aspect
of the law, and the Department of Transportation's final implementation
plans were first revealed in WorldNetDaily two months ago. Barr's office
credited WorldNetDaily with raising awareness of the issue with his constituents.
- Responding to concerns raised by Barr,
Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, and other members of Congress, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration published the following notice in the Federal
Register: "A meeting was held on Aug. 4, 1998, in the Office of the
Transportation Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations. Congressman
Barr, Chairman Smith and Congressman Paul, congressional staff members
and NHTSA representatives attended the meeting. At the meeting, the agency
was asked to consider reopening the comment period for this rulemaking
action, to permit all interested parties to have sufficient time to consider
the agency's proposal and to provide their written comments. After considering
these requests, NHTSA has concluded that it is in the public interest to
allow additional time for comments."
- "I am eager to bring this entire
matter to the public's attention in congressional hearings," said
Barr. "I do not believe Americans are interested in giving the federal
government unprecedented power to track and identify them. Hopefully, these
hearings will be the beginning of the end of efforts to create a national
- Barr said he appreciated efforts by the
American Civil Liberties Union, Christian Coalition, the Libertarian Party,
the CATO Institute and other groups which protested the plan.
- "While delaying these regulations
is only the first step toward ending the drive for a national identification
card, it is an important first step," said Barr. "I am pleased
the administration listened to our concerns and extended the public comment
period on these regulations until Oct. 2, 1998."
- Barr and Paul launched the fight against
the national ID card plan at the same time they attacked Executive Order
13083, which, they said, represented a pattern of unconstitutional administration
policies and directives dramatically restricting individual and states'
- EO 13083 gave the federal government
sweeping new powers in issues previously reserved to state and local authorities
and was also first exposed by WorldNetDaily. Pressure from local and state
officials resulted in the White House backing down and postponing implementation
of that order.
- The DOT plans called for fingerprinting
and the inclusion of biometric data to be imbedded in the new ID cards.
Ultimately, the cards would be required for buying guns, getting loans,
even securing medical care, said critics.