MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY Committee have criticized the Department of Homeland Security for pressuring balky states to adopt new federally approved drivers licenses, with one accusing Secretary Michael Chertoff of â€œbullyingâ€ the states into compliance under a threat of blocking citizensâ€™ travel.
â€œWe ought to engage in a fairer, more productive negotiated rule-making with the states,â€ Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said. â€œMaybe people want to have a national ID card in their state. In my state, they donâ€™t.â€
The hearing dealt with a range of homeland security issues, from the border fence to the backlog in the naturalization process. But the discussion kept returning to the initiative for a uniform drivers license, known as the Real ID program.
â€œBullying the states is not the answer, nor is threatening their citizensâ€™ rights to travel,â€ Leahy said. â€œFrom Maine to Montana, states have said no.â€
Seventeen states have passed bills or resolutions rejecting Real ID. More need to join the fight.
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