September 2, 2009
Does This Bill Repeal Real ID?
By Jim Babka

Quote of the Day: "A danger foreseen is half avoided." --Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

Subject: Does this bill repeal REAL ID?

Politicians keep responding to your pressure by pretending to do what you want. The "responding" part is evidence that pressure works, while the "pretending" part is evidence that we need a larger Downsize DC Army. Here's the latest response that we think could have a bit of pretense to it . . .

A bill numbered H.R. 3471 calls itself "The REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009." The bill was introduced by Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee. Here's the good part . . .

H.R. 3471 would actually repeal the REAL ID Act. Thus, the REAL ID scheme to create a national identity card would be gone.

Here's what we consider the pretend part . . .

H.R. 3471 also restores the identity security provisions of the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act."

These provisions are indeed better than those in the REAL ID Act. But there are aspects that lead us to view it in a more harsh light than perhaps some others would. Read what the ACLU says about the bills and see if you can spot the sticking point . . .

"Similar to the Akaka-Sununu Senate bill of 2007 and the Allen House bill of 2007, Rep. Cohen's bill would eliminate most of the requirements that laid the foundation for a National ID card, such as the obligation that all data and systems be standardized. The proposal also requires a collaborative approach, called negotiated rulemaking, which would advise the Department of Homeland Security on how to maximize driver's license security while minimizing the administrative burden on the states."

The troublesome words are "most of the requirements that laid the foundation for a National ID card," and "negotiated rulemaking." 

"Most of the requirements" doesn't mean "all of the requirements." In addition . . .

We've written an entire piece of legislation, called the "Write the Laws Act," that would prohibit unelected Executive Branch bureaucrats from enacting any kinds of rules whatsoever.

The fact that these rules would (as we understand it) be negotiated with other unelected bureaucrats in the various states doesn't make it much better, and it might even make it worse. Likewise . . .

The fact that the so-called "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act" places limits on the kind of bureaucratic rules that can be created does little to foster our confidence in a good outcome. I know of too many examples of "rulemaking" that violates either the spirit, the letter, or both, of the supposed "limits" created by the enabling legislation.

Removing "most of the requirements that laid the foundation for a National ID card," could too easily lead to restoring all of those requirements through the bureaucratic backdoor.

So I just sent another letter to my representatives asking for the repeal of the REAL ID Act, and here's what I wrote in my personal comments . . .

H.R. 3471 is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be amended to also repeal the "negotiated rulemaking" about state ID cards authorized by the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act." I would appreciate it if you would tell Representative Steve Cohen that you would be willing to co-sponsor his bill if he would make that amendment."

If you like my approach on this please use's Educate the Powerful System to send a similar letter to your Congressional employees through our "Repeal REAL ID" campaign. You can do that here.

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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