I wrote here previously about Senator Susan Collins’ odd move to protect the REAL ID Act from a nationwide rebellion that began in her own state of Maine. She had introduced a bill to extend the deadline for implementation of the REAL ID Act by two years.
Followers of REAL ID know that delaying implementation helps a national ID go forward by giving the companies and organizations that sustain themselves on these kinds of projects time to shake the federal money tree and get this $11 billion surveillance mandate funded.
It is now clear that the bill is intended to provide a key piece of support to proponents of a national ID, as shown by a press release on her Web site this morning touting a statement from the National Governors Association. Collins has gone native, attending more carefully to the interests of national political organizations than to the interests of her constituents in Maine.
Representative Tom Allen (D-ME) has introduced legislation to repeal REAL ID and restore the identification provisions in the 9/11-Commission inspired Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. Unlike Collins, he seems to be paying attention to his home state. Politicians’ stances on REAL ID have affected their electability in the past.
Senator Collins should be well aware that delay can’t make the REAL ID Act work. The real problem is the law itself, and it should be repealed.
Update: A DHS press release issued today announces that it will grant states an extension of the compliance deadline, and it will allocate funds from the Homeland Security Grant Program. The money tree has already begun shaking. Secretary Chertoff is quoted saying, “We are also pleased to have been able to work with Senator Susan Collins, and I believe that the proposed regulations reflect her approach.”