WASHINGTON – States cannot meet the new deadlines set for executing the Real I.D. Act,a National Governors Association spokesman told members of Congress Monday. The Real I.D. Act,passed in 2005,requires that all applicants prove their identity before states can give them drivers licenses.
People will be required to use these cards,which would include an identification number and machine-readable technology,to enter any federal facility,nuclear power plant or commercial airplane.
States don't have the money or the time to begin complying with the act by Dec. 31,2009,said David Quam,the association's director of federal relations. That deadline is an extension offered by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month.
States that don't request an extension will have until May 11,2008,to begin issuing Real I.D. cards.
“Real I.D. cannot be fixed without congressional action,” Quam told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' subcommittee on oversight of government management,the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.
Twenty-eight states have introduced legislation saying they will not comply with the act,citing funding and security concerns. So far,Maine and Idaho are the only states to pass such legislation.
Some members of Congress agree with the states' concerns and want the department to postpone the effective date until a compromise is worked out between the states and the federal government.
Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Daniel K. Akaka,D-Hawaii,said he worries that the online systems states would use to verify a person's identification will be “one-stop shopping” for identity thieves.
But Richard C. Barth,the department's assistant secretary for policy development,said the bigger threat is that departments of motor vehicles employees might be susceptible to bribery.
“I invite the Congress to evaluate if those penalties are high enough,” to dissuade the selling of information,Barth said,referring to criminal bribery penalties.