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IP: [FP] National ID back on table?
From: [email protected]
Subject: IP: [FP] National ID back on table?
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 09:52:36 -0500
To: [email protected]
From: "ScanThisNews" <[email protected]>
Subject: [FP] National ID back on table?
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 07:05:28 -0500
SCAN THIS NEWS
OCTOBER 19, 1998
National ID back on table?
Weekend maneuvers in Congress
may kill moratorium
By David M. Bresnahan
Copyright 1998, WorldNetDaily.com
Last-minute deals on Capitol Hill may remove a previously negotiated
moratorium on the national ID card, and one organization opposed to the card
is not surprised or disappointed.
The law was already passed by Congress in 1996 and a national ID for all
Americans will soon be in use unless changes to the law are made soon. The
omnibus appropriations bill contained a ban on the national ID, first
exposed in WorldNetDaily, but over the weekend efforts were made to remove
A great many bills were never voted on during the year. With elections just
around the corner, politicians want to go home to their districts and brag
about something they've done this past year. The omnibus bill contains
thousands of pages, including many pet projects intended to win votes.
The main purpose of the bill, negotiated last week and scheduled for a vote
tomorrow, is to approve the budget and keep government in business. Prior to
the negotiations last week, all sides were predicting a shut-down of
government over disagreements in the budget. No one in Congress wants to
explain to voters why government has come to a grinding halt just before an
election, so the passage of the omnibus bill is assured, along with anything
else attached to it.
"There are so many deals that have been made and are still being made that
no one will ever know exactly what's in that thing and what's not until long
after the vote is over and the members all go home to campaign," explained a
congressional aide who did not wish to be named.
The moratorium was first included in the transportation appropriations bill,
but Rep. Lamar Smith, R-TX, convinced Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-GA, to remove
it before passage, according to House Transportation Committee sources.
The ban on the national ID was then included the omnibus bill. However,
Smith has continued to make efforts to kill the provision, according to a
congressional source who has been working on the ban.
"It's very hard to say just what will happen, but I do know that Smith has
recruited help from some other members and the Speaker is considering their
requests," said the source yesterday. It was Smith who got the national ID
ban out of the transportation appropriations bill.
"It was reported that Lamar Smith had obtained an agreement from Speaker
Gingrich to eliminate this provision from the bill," reported Patrick Poole
of the Free Congress Foundation. The ban was back in the bill "after many
House members openly complained to the speaker about Lamar Smith's seemingly
religious devotion to the national ID idea and the American people’s
vehement opposition to being branded and tagged by the U.S. government,"
Numerous organizations opposed to the concept of a national ID rallied their
members to send thousands of letters, faxes, and make phone calls to
Congress for the past two weeks. Rep. Smith could not be reached on Sunday
night by WorldNetDaily, but he did publish a letter in the Washington Times
last Tuesday because of the many calls his office received.
"I do not support a national ID card and don't know anyone in Congress who
does," said Smith in his letter. He tried to label those voicing opposition
as radicals when he added, "There are fringe groups that believe the United
Nations is taking over Yellowstone National Park, that Congress is creating
a national ID card or that they have been abducted by UFOs."
The law to create a national ID card was passed as part of the Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. One section of
the act requires all states to make their driver's licenses comply with
certain guidelines found in Section 656 (b) of the act, including the use of
the Social Security Number on all licences and in all data bases beginning
Oct. 1, 2000.
The act also calls for digitized biometric information to be a part of each
license, or "smart card." The biometric information will include
fingerprints, retina scans, DNA prints, and other similar information.
Responsibility for the design and implementation of the cards has been given
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of
Transportation. That agency has recently published the proposed "Driver's
License/SSN/National Identification Document," which contains the guidelines
which must be in force by each state -- a federal mandate once campaigned
against by many conservative Republicans.
"These new national ID regulations violate every notion of federalism,
because they force states to comply with regulations issued by the federal
government without any constitutional authority to do so," said Poole
recently. "Nor are federal agencies empowered to force states to gather
detailed information on every person in order to comply with federal
mandates. The net result of the DOT's regulations is to establish a national
ID system, which has been opposed by almost every non-governmental sector
for the past five decades."
House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-TX, Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, and Rep. Bob
Barr, R-GA, have been working on repeal legislation, but there was
insufficient time to bring it to a vote during this session of Congress.
The DOT solicited public comments on their plans for implementation of
Section 656 (b) of the act earlier this year. The public comment period has
just closed and many thousands of letters in opposition were received,
according to a spokesman. Five states also expressed opposition to the plan,
and only a "small number" of letters supporting the plan were known to the
spokesman, who spoke on condition that his name would not be published.
One group that has worked diligently for the repeal of the national ID card
was not surprised to learn of plans to remove the ban from the omnibus bill.
"I won't be terribly disappointed if the one-year moratorium is removed from
the appropriations bill. In fact, if left in, the moratorium may actually
serve to provide an unwelcomed delay in this issue being addressed by
Congress and the DOT," said Scott McDonald leader of "Fight the
McDonald says his group will use the situation to educate more people
regardless of which way the bill ends up. He is concerned that national
debate on the national ID will be delayed by the ban and would lessen the
chances to get the law repealed. McDonald wants the debate to begin now.
"Time is on the side of the proponents of the national ID. Opposition to any
issue tends to wane as time passes. The American people have already firmly
stated their strong opposition to the DOT's proposed standardized driver's
license proposal. Now it's time for the DOT to act on behalf of the people
they serve. The DOT should go back to Congress with a report stating that
the American people do not want a national ID which the 1996 immigration law
would establish via standardized driver's licenses," explained McDonald on
McDonald's group is opposed to the use of Social Security numbers from being
used as past of driver's licences and in centralized government databases
tied to driver's licenses and other government documents. His group is also
opposed to the use of fingerprints on such records.
In the event there is a moratorium on the implementation of the National ID,
McDonald predicts there will be a good chance the DOT will design a
compromise which will keep Social Security numbers off licences but keep the
number on license applications and in universal data bases to keep track of
Without a moratorium, a report must be provided by DOT detailing the
responses they received from the public on the issue. McDonald wants
Congress to see that report as soon as possible.
"Without the temporary reprieve, the DOT is required by law to respond to
all public comments which have been filed with the agency, and to publish
their responses in the Federal Register," said McDonald. "I am anxious to
see their responses. If the moratorium goes into effect, the DOT may be able
to avoid this mandatory requirement. The American people deserve to be know
what the DOT's official position is in response to the objections raised by
those individuals and groups who took the time to object."
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