L. Neil Smith's
Number 51, July 15, 1999

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 identification system.
           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 number.
           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 brain.

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 amendment:

"[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 license.

"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, non-paying parents.

"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 government-sponsored program.

           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 passing it."

           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 become accountable.

"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 Weller said:

"[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 system.

"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, stated:

"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 1996.

"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 vetoed.

"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 1988.

"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 welfare reform.

"The bill contains commonsense reforms which achieve the following:

"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 days.

"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.

Scott McDonald

Uncle Sam Has All Your Numbers, Washington Post, June 27, 1999 www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/daily/june99/privacy27.htm

Land-Mine Legislation, by Claire Wolfe www.curleywolfe.net/cw/E_LandMines.html

666, "The System" www.networkusa.org/fingerprint/page1/fp-666-the-system.html

Deception by Legislation www.networkusa.org/fingerprint/page1/fp-deception.html

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