Monday, May 30, 2005

Our government in action

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wrote to my Senators to ask them to vote against the appropriations bill that included provisions of the Real ID act, which wasn't able to pass on its own. The bill passed 100-0, because no one can be seen as being 'anti-troops'.

This is the response from Senator Sarbaines.
Dear Mr. Stagg:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the inclusion of
provisions mandating certain standards for state-issued identification documents
in H.R. 1268, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill. I appreciate
having the benefit of your views on this issue.

As you may know, the conference agreement on S. 2845, the National Intelligence
Reform Act of 2004, contained language that directed the Secretary of
Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to
establish minimum standards for State-issued driver's licenses and personal
identification cards. On February 23, 2005, the Department of Transportation
announced the establishment of a committee to develop, through negotiated
rulemaking procedures, recommendations for minimum standards for identification
documents. This committee was to be composed of representatives of interested
parties, such as State offices that issue driver's licenses or personal
identification cards, elected State officials, the Departments of Transportation
and Homeland Security.

Despite these actions, the provisions of H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act, which were
not present in the Senate-passed version of the Emergency Supplemental
Appropriations bill, were included by the Conference Committee charged with
resolving the differences between the House- and Senate- passed bills. Among
other changes, the insertion of these provisions has caused this negotiated
rulemaking process to cease. Rather than allowing the States that issue drivers
licenses and other interested parties to provide input on the minimum standards,
the related provisions of the REAL ID Act included in the Emergency Supplemental
bill statutorily define those standards. It is my opinion that the views of
those responsible for our drivers license programs are valuable and should be
solicited, thus it would be my preference to see the negotiated rulemaking
continue. However, after careful consideration, I voted for the conference
report to accompany H.R. 1268 when it came before the full Senate on May 10,
2005, where it passed 100 to 0. Despite my many misgivings about this
legislation, I strongly support providing what is necessary to assure the safety
and welfare of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me about this
important issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding
this or other matters of importance to you.

In the future please visit my web site at rather than
clicking reply.

With best regards,
Paul Sarbanes
United States Senator

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