The National Governors Association would like to have a national ID
system, and plans to work with the White House to reinstate
Executive Order 13083 to make that a reality.
The bipartisan NGA is claiming much of the credit for stopping
Executive Order 13083, but they also plan to help craft a revised
version of the order that will alter the relationship between states
and the federal government.
An internal document used by the NGA to inform all governors of
their goals and objectives was made available to WorldNetDaily,
along with a “Fact Sheet on Federalism” used by the White House staff.
Both documents were provided by a Republican source.
Each document shows that both the White House, and the nation’s
Governors, plan to put the currently suspended executive order into
One of main reasons for the alteration of state and federal
government relations is to provide for “preemption of state and
local laws” by the federal government, according to the NGA
“This is because of demands by citizens, businesses, and the federal
government to make all government more accessible and open,” claims
the NGA. “Pressures for uniformity and simplification come from
globalization in trade and telecommunications policy, regional
environmental quality solutions, and a greater need for some type of
personal identification mechanism to combat fraud, crime, illegal
immigration, and mismanagement of funds.
Congress passed the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act of 1996,” which authorized the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation to
establish a national ID system through the use of driver’s licenses.
Those guidelines are spelled out in Section 656 (b) of the act.
They include the use of Social Security numbers on all licenses, 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
Thousands of letters of protest were received by the Department of
Transportation during a public comment period, which concluded in
October. The exposure of the plan in WorldNetDaily, and the outcry that followed, prompted Congress to place a moratorium on the
national ID, as well as the medical ID law.
“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 Patrick Poole of the Free Congress
Foundation. “Nor are federal agencies empowered to force states to
gather detailed information on every person in order to comply with
The NGA document indicates that governors apparently would like to
alter the concepts of federalism, mentioned by Poole, to facilitate
the national ID system. The governors claim that the federal
government must be able to preempt state and local laws, and
pressure from “special interest groups” seem to be involved.
“Preemption and standardization proposals are now common for
international, business, environmental, health, and financial laws
in Congress, and regulations by executive branch agencies with
substantial support from selected special interest groups,” states
The NGA claims that governors objected to the executive order on
federalism because it was issued by President Clinton, without consulting governors. They also say they were concerned with the way
the federal government would have supremacy over state laws.
The NGA complained in their document that plans for negotiating with
the White House for an acceptable executive order will be made more
difficult because of a Congressional ban on funding. They say they
expect to have discussions with Clinton in 1999 on the issue.
Congress included three clauses in the omnibus appropriations bill
to withhold funds for implementation of the national ID, medical ID
and Executive Order 13083. Apparently the governors are not pleased
with those actions, according to their document.
The White House claims in their internal fact sheet that the
executive order was necessitated by unnamed recent Supreme Court
decisions and recent legislation. It states that Executive Order
13083 merely clarifies previous executive orders on federalism.
Gov. Mike Leavitt, R-UT, disagrees. He was asked to testify to
the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Economic
Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs in July. He asked
Congress to demand that the executive order be withdrawn. Leavitt
says the Clinton order does not clarify previous federalism
executive orders — it eliminates them.
“This order represents a 180-degree turn from all previous
federalism aimed to restrain federal action over states,” said
Leavitt in disagreement with the Clinton fact sheet statement of
purpose. “The current version of this new order is written to
justify federal supremacy.”
The White House fact sheet claims that President Clinton believes
the executive order is necessary in order to “protect individual
liberty.” Critics claim he is taking liberty away.
The fact sheet summarizes the executive order using language that
copies the deceptiveness for which the order was criticized by the
U.S. Senate, National Governor’s Association, National Conference of
State Legislatures, National League of Cities, National Conference
of Mayors, and the National Association of Counties. All of those
organizations demanded withdrawal of the executive order.
“Given the secrecy surrounding this order and the complete turnabout
of its language and scope, one can only conclude the Clinton
administration deliberately set upon a course to expand the role of
the federal government. Not exactly the end of the ‘era of big
government,'” said Leavitt when he testified, criticizing the
deceptiveness of the order.
Many who were first asked to comment on the executive order by
WorldNetDaily, just after Clinton signed it, were initially unable
to respond because the wording was so deceptive. It took some time
for officials to have the order analyzed. The language and wording
used has been termed by many as extremely “Clinton-like.” Once the
order was evaluated by legal advisors, the alarm bells went off and
demands for withdrawal were made.
“When I discovered President Clinton’s executive order,” said Rep.
David M. McIntosh, R-IN, “I wrote President Clinton that I could
not understand how (he), as a former governor, could willingly
abandon the protections accorded the states since 1987 from
unwarranted federal regulatory burdens.
“The bottom line is that the new order would wreak havoc on the
balance of power envisioned by the Constitution between the States
and the federal government. I simply asked, ‘Why?.'” McIntosh is
chairman of the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural
Resources, and Regulatory Affairs, which held hearings on the
Leavitt pointed out that the wording of the “Executive Order on
Federalism” was so broad that the federal government could come into
a state for any reason and enact any regulations it wants — with no
recourse for the state. It also appeared to delegate that authority
to government bureaucracies, permitting vast powers to individuals
who are not responsible to the voters.
“It is nothing short of ironic — and I would assert very troubling —
that President Clinton, a former governor and a former leader among
governors, would sign an executive order that undermines the very
constitutional and political principle he says in the order he seeks
to protect and promote,” said Eugene Hickok, former special
assistant in the U.S. Department of Justice, when he testified before the committee.
The documents obtained by WorldNetDaily clearly show that the NGA
would like to facilitate a national ID system, and the organization believes
Executive Order 13083, with some revisions, is needed to facilitate
David M. Bresnahan (David@talkusa.com) is a contributing editor of
WorldNetDaily.com, is the author of “Cover Up: The Art and Science
of Political Deception,” and offers a monthly newsletter “Talk USA