The REAL ID Act is, of course, still the law of the land. But with 17 states objecting to, or refusing to carry out, this federal surveillance mandate, its prospects for implementation look bleak indeed. Now, for a second time, the U.S. Senate has declined to prop up the failing policy of herding law-abiding Americans into a national ID system.
Yesterday, the Senate considered an amendment that would have added $300 million to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. The money would have gone to grants to states for REAL ID implementation. Though it’s a paltry amount compared to the huge cost of implementing, the idea was to lure state governments back into REAL ID using taxpayer dollars collected by the feds.
The Senate voted to table the amendment, effectively killing it. Senator Alexander (R-TN), who offered the amendment, has taken the approach that REAL ID should be funded or scrapped. If he’s a straight-shooter, he should now turn to the business of scrapping this wrongheaded law. REAL ID is dead, but it needs a stake in the heart to stop it from walking around searching for personal information to consume.
A few interesting tidbits can be found in the vote tally. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) voted against tabling the amendment, indicating once again that she supports REAL ID even though her state was the first in the nation to reject it, with both parties opposed to REAL ID.
REAL ID will continue to twitch, but we’re in the early part of the endgame for this national ID law.