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
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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 identification system."
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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' rights.
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.