Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who as governor of Arizona opposed tough new federal requirements for driver's licenses, endorsed legislation on Wednesday to replace the 2005 law with a more flexible and less costly version.
The new legislation maintains some features of the so-called Real ID law, which required states to scrupulously verify the identity of people to whom it issues driver's licenses, including verifying information they submit, like Social Security numbers and birth certificates.
The original measure, prompted by concerns about terrorism, was passed without Senate hearings as an amendment to a spending bill, and has been contested ever since. It requires states to comply with a series of benchmarks by Dec. 31, but no state has been certified as compliant.
The Real ID card is intended to be the only driver's license a person can use when boarding an airplane or entering a federal building.
Ms. Napolitano said the new bipartisan bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii, was "a bill that if passed and implemented before Dec. 31 of this year will fix a bill that was flawed from the outset."
From the Associated Press, on cartel violence in Mexico:
Ongoing concerns that drug-related violence in Mexico poses a threat to American communities remain the Obama administration's border focus, the federal government's border czar said Wednesday.
Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin, who visited Arizona's busiest commercial port here on Wednesday, said those concerns have triggered a series of border security initiatives and brought about closer cooperation with Mexican federal authorities.
"We take the threat of spillover violence very seriously," Bersin said. "We're prepared to deal with it in the event it occurs. There are contingency plans to respond. But we have not yet seen that violence spill over into the United States."
10 AM EDT
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations Deputy Director Kumar Kibble will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security; Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism
311 Cannon House Office Building
10 AM CDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Jon Allen will participate in a media
event announcing the installation of CT-80 Explosives Detection
System (EDS) equipment
University of Illinois Willard Airport11 Airport RoadSavoy, Ill.
11:30 AM EDT
TSA Public Affairs Manager Lara Uselding will participate in a
media event at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to
showcase new AT X-ray machines
Newark Liberty International Airport