How the Republicans Implemented the Democrats' National ID Plan:
An Historical Account
by Scott McDonald
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
One day, in the not too distant future, a generation of Americans is
going to wake up and ask: "How did we become shackled with a
government that tracks, monitors, regulates, controls, and dictates
our every move?" Let the historical record show, it was the
Republican-led Congress implementing the Democrats' "locating and
tracking" database program that resulted in the U.S. national
Just how did this massive control mechanism get established? And, who
were the key players? For a clue, their first names were: Bob, Newt,
Bill, and Patsy -- with honorable mention for Rush.
It all came about rather gradually beginning in 1994 -- the political
period referred to as the "Republican Revolution." It happened during
a time when the nation's attention was diverted to such trivial
issues as funding for free school lunch programs. It began when the
Republicans in Congress proudly and pompously announced, in a huge
ceremony held on the front steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, that
they were implementing their "Contract With America."
Under the "Contract," the Republican Congress enacted not one, but
TWO national ID laws. The "Welfare Reform Act of 1996" and the
"Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 1996" both included requirements
which, in application, constitute a national identification system.
Together, these two laws made up the foundational backbone -- and
provided the financial impetus -- for the most massive national
identification system ever devised by mankind. These two programs are
now being implemented throughout America. As a result, everyone is
required to identify themselves using a social security number in
order to engage in virtually all societal activities. Consequently,
SSNs are now required as a condition to drive, work, fly, bank, get
married, get divorced, hunt, fish, buy stock, obtain insurance, get
born, and even to die.
These two laws are in addition to the health care reform measures,
also enacted under the Republican Congress, which are resulting in
massive database systems that will be used to exchange private
information about citizens, all linked to one's social security
How could such Draconian laws get enacted with little or no
meaningful public debate? No small amount of blame goes to the
diversionary antics of the pseudo-conservative, part-time comedian,
Republican mouthpiece, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. For, it
was he who -- on cue from Newt Gingrich -- distracted an otherwise
concerned and otherwise trusting populace with relentless babble and
mindless chatter about irrelevant issues. All Rush ever discussed on
his weekday program was whether or not the Republican's Welfare
Reform plan included a "spending increase," a "spending decrease," or
simply a "decrease in the previously proposed increase."
Occasionally, Rush would also complain about Clinton's threat to veto
the great Republican welfare overhaul bill because it did not include
enough money for school lunch programs. Clinton followed through with
his threat, by the way, but that obviously is not the end of the
story. Meanwhile, Congress was busy enacting the most sophisticated
-- most horrendous -- locating, tracking, and identification system
ever suffered under by mankind. None of this was ever once so much as
mentioned by the immensely popular celebrity who's most noted and
self-proclaimed credential is that he functions with only half a
Detailed History Of The Locating And Tracking Law
For simplicity sake, this particular historical account follows only
the welfare reform measure as it wound its way through Congress. The
national "locating and tracking" system, (and that's just what it's
called in the Welfare Reform Act), began as the "Child Support
Responsibility Act of 1994" (H.R. 4570). The first version of the
bill most like the one that was eventually adopted, began life under
the sponsorship of Democratic Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-CO). Her
bill was introduced in June of 1994 on behalf of "the Congressional
Caucus for Women's Issues." Several previous attempts by the Women's
Caucus to get similar legislation enacted failed miserably while the
Democrats held the majority. And Representative Schroder's 1994
attempt suffered the same fate.
But that was all before the Republicans took the majority in the Fall
of 1994. As you will see, the ladies were about to receive the
life-sustaining support they so desperately needed.
In January of 1995, during what was referred to as the "First
One-hundred Days," Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R-CN) sponsored a new
version of the same child support bill previously championed by
Representative Pat Schroeder. This time the bill was called the
"Child Support Responsibility Act of 1995" (H.R.785). In
re-introducing the bill, Ms. Schroeder had these comments about the
new and improved version:
"The central component of the Child Support Responsibility Act
of 1995 is the creation of a national databank that expands the
Federal Parent Locator Service and establishes a Federal Child
Support Registry. ... We do not want noncustodial parents
playing economic hide-and-seek from their kids."
"Highlights of the new bill include:
"Restricts professional, occupational, and business licenses of
noncustodial parents who have failed to pay child support.
"Restricts driver's licenses and vehicle registration of
noncustodial parents who fail to appear in child support
proceedings." (Congressional Record pg. H892, 1995)
Republicans Quickly Begin To Climb Aboard
The same "child support enforcement" wording as discussed above was
now included in another bill known as the "Child Support Enforcement
Reform Act of 1995," (H.R.906). This bill was introduced by
Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) on February 13, 1995. Senator
Olympia Snowe (R-ME) presented the Child Support Enforcement bill to
the Senate on behalf of himself and Senator Bob Dole. In introducing
the bill, Senator Snowe said:
"To strengthen efforts to locate parents, [this bill] expands
the Federal parent locator system and provides for
State-to-State access of the network.
"And, to facilitate child support enforcement and collection,
the bill expands the penalties for child support delinquency to
include the denial of professional, recreational, and driver's
license to deadbeat parents, the imposition of liens on real
property, and the automatic reporting of delinquency to credit
unions." (Congressional Record, pg. S2841)
In the process of implementing the "Contract With America," all of
the Democrats' Child Support Reform Act measures were gradually
incorporated into the Republican "Personal Responsibility Act of
1995." At this stage, however, the Democrats were still having to
fight to keep the locating and tracking enforcement measures alive.
On March 23, 1995, Congresswoman Marge Roukema (D-NJ) offered an
amendment to re-incorporate back into the Republican's Personal
Responsibility Act the license suspension measures which had just
previously been removed by the Ways and Means Committee.
Ms. Roukema's proposal also included a new provision to amend Title
42 of the U.S. Code, Section 666(a)(13) so as to require that states
must obtain social security numbers from all license applicants as a
condition for the states to continue to receive federal money for
social benefits programs. The strong-armed tactic, funding-contingent
measures required that, among other things, states must implement:
"Procedures under which the State has (and uses in appropriate
cases) authority to withhold or suspend, or to restrict the use
of driver's licenses, professional and occupational licenses,
and recreational licenses of individuals owing overdue support
or failing, after receiving appropriate notice, to comply with
subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support
proceedings." (Congressional Record pg. H3628)
Congresswoman Barbra Kenelly (D-CT) stated in her introduction of the
"[W]hen we come to the amendment of the gentlewoman from New
Jersey, [Mrs. Roukema] the amendment for child support
enforcement, revoking the licenses of delinquent parents, I
think it is very nice we can come together on both sides of the
aisle and agree on this amendment to revoke licenses of people
who do not pay.
"When we say licenses, we are talking about a driver's license,
we are talking about a professional license. We are talking
about saying to somebody if you want to have what society can
give you and be according to the law in the area of what you
want to do, such as drive a car under the rulings of the State,
then you will pay your child support."
And Congresswoman Constance Morella (R-MD) stated:
"[T]his license revocation amendment is so very important to
child support enforcement. It had its inception in the Women's
Caucus child support bill in the last Congress. It was also
contained in the Women's Caucus bill this year, too.
"This says States must have license revocation procedures in
place. We now have 19 States that have revocation procedures in
place, and in those cases we have found that people immediately
get out and write their checks for child support, because they
do not want to lose their hunting license, their driver's
license, or their professional license." (Congressional Record
pg. H3630, 1995)
In providing additional examples of states' "success" in implementing
similar license suspension measures, Rep. Morella argued:
"[I]n Maine, they only had to revoke 41 licenses. Just the fear
of the revoking of the license brought in $23 million. In
California, they collected $10 million without revoking one
"I am really glad there has been a change of heart on the other
side [Republicans] and that they are now going to put this in
their bill and that now all the bills will be as strong as they
can be on child support enforcement because it has been much too
long in coming.
"The children of America deserve this." (Congressional Record
pg. H3631, 1995)
And Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R) of Connecticut chimed in:
"The Child Support Responsibility Act, which we introduced
earlier this year along with Congresswomen Connie Morella,
Patricia Schroeder, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, has been largely
adopted into the welfare reform bill before us today.
"The legislation sets up interacting State databases of child
support orders, which will be matched against basic 'new hire'
data so that State child support officials can locate missing,
"Finally, this legislation contains my provision adopted in the
Ways and Means Committee that will put work requirements on many
noncustodial parents who are behind in paying child support,
often due to their not having a job. ... This provision requires
parents to either pay their child support, enter into a
repayment plan through the courts, or work in a
Congressman Randy Cunningham (R-CA) interjected:
"I rise in support of the amendment. I would like to advise the
gentlewoman from Colorado, it is the Republican bill that is
And, Congressman Martin Hoke (R) from Ohio stated:
"[W]hen you combine the establishment of a paternity requirement
along with this revocation of a license requirement, what you
are going to do is for the first time you are going to actually
create consequences for teenage boys who will have to think
twice about the consequences of their actions because they will
"I applaud the child support provisions in the welfare reform
bill before us, which are based on the Child Support
Responsibility Act that I, along with many members of the
congressional caucus for women's issues, cosponsored. I was
distressed to learn, however, that the Ways and Means Committee
omitted a critical provision which requires States to enact laws
denying professional, occupational, and driver's licenses to
deadbeat parents. The Roukema amendment would reinsert this
critically important enforcement provision.
"The child support provisions are built around a key element of
the Child Support Responsibility Act, the creation of
centralized registries for child support orders and 'new hires'
information, and the centralization of child support collections
and distribution." (Congressional Record pg. H3633, 1995)
The Roukema amendment was subsequently adopted by the House 433-0.
Republicans Demand Credit
Gradually, the momentum shifted in favor of the new measures. Soon,
the Republicans and Democrats would actually be competing to see who
would receive "credit" for getting the license withholding and SSN
reporting requirements enacted. On March 23, 1995, Congressman
Weller, (R., IL.) spoke on behalf of the Republicans regarding their
position on the proposed "child support enforcement measures." In
support of final passage of the Personal Responsibility Reform Act
(H.R. 4), (which now included the Roukema amendment), Representative
"[A]s one of the chief sponsors of the Family Reinforcement Act,
I rise in strong support of the goals of child support
enforcement provisions and the Personal Responsibility Act. All
are Republican welfare reform initiatives.
"Republicans are working to change our child support collection
"The bill also provides better tools to locate absent parents,
making additional information available to the States, including
law enforcement systems and data on licenses, newly hired
employees and members of organized labor.
"H.R. 4 also provides streamlined procedures to collect child
support ... It also requires licensing agencies to collect
social security numbers so States may match child support and
licensing records and impose restrictions on licenses held by
people who fail to support their children.
"Ladies and gentleman, H.R. 4 provides tough tools to help
deadbeat parents be located and, of course, be forced to meet
their responsibilities. If you look at the facts, if you look at
the record, H.R. 4 helps kids. "Let us vote for real reform that
helps kids, helps children. Let us pass H.R. 4 tomorrow on
Friday." (Congressional Record pg. H3705, 1995)
On August 05, 1995, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) offered the final version
of the Child Support Enforcement amendments as incorporated into the
"Work Opportunity Act of 1995" -- the Act that eventually passed both
Houses, which later became known as the "Personal Responsibility Act
of 1995." This Act is more loosely referred to as the "Welfare Reform
Act" (H.R.4). (Congressional Record pg. S11640, 1995)
The huge Welfare Reform bill was now being heralded as the Republican
Congress' plan to "restore the American family, reduce illegitimacy,
control welfare spending, and reduce welfare dependence" -- as so
stated by Senator Dole. And now, the Republicans were determined to
claim full credit for the dead-beat dad laws.
In the House, Congressman Bill Archer (R-TX) proudly introduced the
final version of H.R.4 -- the "Personal Responsibility Act," which
included all of the child support enforcement locating and tracking,
social security number reporting, and license suspension provisions.
In introducing the bill, Congressman Archer echoed the very same
words used by Senator Dole previously in the Senate:
"I call up the conference report on the bill (H.R. 4) to restore
the American family, reduce illegitimacy, control welfare
spending, and reduce welfare dependence."
Representative Goodling said this about H.R. 4:
"This conference report comes at the end of a long and often
difficult process. I want to express my appreciation of my
colleagues who have not only worked so hard to achieve a
conference agreement but stood firm in helping us negotiate with
the other body to achieve a final agreement. I especially want
to express my appreciation to the Speaker [Newt Gingrich (R-GA)]
and to the majority leader, as well as to Chairman Archer and
Chairman Shaw for their leadership during the conference with
the Senate." (Congressional Record, pg. H15511, 1995)
Archer then offered his final comments regarding H.R. 4. With great
exuberance, the powerful U.S. Representative from Texas, Bill Archer,
"Mr. Speaker, this is truly an historic day. With this vote we
arrive at a defining moment in our Nation's welfare reform debate.
"At long last, the Congress and this President have an opportunity to
show that we mean what we say.
"We bring forward today a great bill, which includes
participation and input from many Members on both sides of the
aisle and the White House, a bill that after too long in waiting
does truly reform our Nation's failed welfare system; not by
rhetoric, but by substance.
"Earlier today 30 governors signed a letter to the President
calling on him to sign this bill, to keep his word, to put his
name, William Clinton, on the line. But if he does not, he will
demonstrate that when it comes to welfare reform, this President
is all talk and no action. He said he would end welfare as we
know it. If he vetoes this bill, he will be remembered as the
very liberal President who kept welfare as we have it.
"Mr. Speaker, this is a great bill and a great opportunity to
solve one of our Nation's most vexing problems.
"This is a bill that only an extreme liberal could oppose. I
urge all my colleagues to fix welfare and vote for his
conference report." (Congressional Record, pg. H15511, 1995)
President Clinton Does Not Go Along -- Vetoes Welfare Reform!
By now, the Republicans were pressuring Democratic President Bill
Clinton to sign into law the Welfare Reform Act just as soon as
possible. President Clinton had indicated an unwillingness to sign
the legislation, at least partly because it did not include enough
federal money for free school lunch programs.
On December 29, 1995, Congress PASSED H.R. 4, the Welfare Reform Act
of 1995, (Congressional Record, H15658, 1995).
But, on January 9, 1995, President Bill Clinton VETOED H.R. 4,
(Congressional Record, H342 1996). The Republican Contract With
America and the Welfare Reform Act was wounded... but not dead!
Round Two For The Child Support Enforcement Bill
On May 14, 1996, during the first few days of the second session of
the 104th Congress, Congresswoman Roukema again sponsored the "Child
Support Enforcement Reform Amendments of 1996," (H.R. 3453), (also
referred to as the Child Support Improvement Act of 1996). The
wording in this bill was the exact same as the wording in the bill
vetoed by President Clinton just five months earlier.
In introducing Roukema's bill, Senator Snowe stated:
"I am pleased to introduce the Child Support Improvement Act of
"Fourteen months ago, Senator Dole and I introduced our bill,
the Child Support Responsibility Act of 1995, which later became
an important piece of the welfare reform bill. Since that time,
Congress has twice passed welfare reform, and twice it has been
"And now, we are in much the same place we were 14 months ago.
While it is my sincerest hope that child support will pass as
part of a comprehensive welfare reform bill this year, I believe
that we must seize this opportunity to move forward on child
support. Because this issue is too important to the future of
American children to stand by and wait any longer.
"In all fairness, Congress has tried to strengthen child support
enforcement mechanisms prior to this term. In 1975, Congress did
pass the Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment
Program as part of the Social Security Act, and then it enacted
further improvements to this effort by way of the 1984 Child
Support Enforcement Amendments and the Family Support Act of
"As co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, we
made child support enforcement one of our top legislative
priorities in previous Congresses, where some 30 bills were
introduced to address this problem. But I believe we have come
to a point where everyone agrees that child support enforcement
is one of the most important aspects of our campaign to revamp
the welfare system of this country. It affects every
State--children at every income level--and it affects both
single mothers and single fathers. As a national problem, child
support enforcement merits a national solution.
"That's why I have joined forces again with the distinguished
majority leader, Senator Dole, to introduce the Child Support
Improvement Act of 1996. I should add, Mr. President, that this
bill has true bipartisan support, and is intended to complement
the efforts of my House colleagues, Congresswomen Nancy Johnson
and Barbara Kennelly, who have introduced companion legislation
in the House. Together, we have introduced the same child
support provisions which received overwhelming support from both
parties of Congress, as well as the administration, during
"The bill contains commonsense reforms which achieve the
"To strengthen efforts to locate parents, it expands the Federal
parent locator system by creating Federal and State data banks
of child support orders, and allowing State-to-State access of
the network. It also creates Federal and State directories of
new hires, to allow for basic information supplied by employers
from W-4 forms to be compared against child support data.
"To ensure that collected funds go to families as soon as
possible, it establishes a centralized State collections and
disbursements unit, and requires employers that garnish wages
from employees to pay those withheld wages to the State within 5
"And to facilitate child support enforcement and collection, it
requires States to adopt the Uniform Interstate Family Support
Act, to encourage the seamless enforcement of child support
orders across State lines.
"Finally, this bill expands the penalties for child support
delinquency to include the denial of professional, recreational
and driver's license to deadbeat parents, and permits the denial
of a passport for individuals who are more than $5,000 in
arrears." (Congressional Record pg. S5095, 1996)
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reform Act of 1996,
(H.R. 3734), was later signed into law. The PRWORA, Public Law
104-193, included all the new requirements for reporting of social
security numbers on virtually every single document used in
interactions with virtually every single state agency so that
individuals can be located and tracked at the government's whim.
A very similar shameful legacy follows the enactment of the
Immigration Reform Act of 1996 which established the provisions that
are now resulting in all states standardizing their state-issued
driver's licenses. The driver's license documents, once standardized,
WILL BE the de facto National Identification document.
With the support of Republicans Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Bill Archer,
and a willing Republican Congress, Pat Schroeder and the
"Congressional Women's Caucus" finally realized their long awaited
dream -- a method to locate, track, and financially annihilate every
single human being in America.
Uncle Sam Has All Your Numbers, Washington Post, June 27, 1999
Land-Mine Legislation, by Claire Wolfe
666, "The System"
Deception by Legislation