The Bush administration is easing its demand for tough national standards for driver's licenses, acting at the behest of state officials who say the "Real ID" plan is unworkable and too costly, officials familiar with the new policy said.
While Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff hailed an agreement with New York last week on more secure state identification cards for citizens as a sign that "the tide is moving more rapidly in favor of Real ID," his department is preparing to extend deadlines for the second time in a year and ease or take over responsibility for new security measures, the officials said.
Chertoff had earlier announced that DHS would waive the original May 2008 deadline and set a new target of 2013 for getting all 245 million U.S. driver's licenses to comply with a national standard. Now, DHS may extend the original deadline by a decade, to 2018 for drivers older than 40 or 50 to reduce the costs associated with a projected surge of customers at state motor vehicle departments, the officials said.
In a recent meeting, DHS policy official Richard C. Barth told state officials to expect Real ID's price tag to fall by "billions of dollars" as DHS eases previous demands that the new licenses be renewed every five years, that expensive, tamper-resistant materials be used to create the ID cards, and that each state develop its own document verification systems, those officials said.
In an interview Friday, Barth's boss, DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy Stewart A. Baker, said the department is finalizing long-awaited regulations for a 90-day White House budget review, and has "listened hard to the states' concerns about possible costs and disruptions to their licensing procedures, and we are going to make changes in response to those concerns . . . and still provide the security the country expects."
Why would they consider extending the deadline for 40 - 50 year olds? Simple; older people are less likely to bite the hand that feeds them.
We must continue to fight this anti-American Nazi style identification garbage so that we may remain a free country.
No, you do not need to see my papers!! I am an American! My social security number proves it!!