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2005 blog


Keeping up with Jewish officeholders

Jews in House divide
1-25 on 'Real ID bill'
,  Feb. 11, 2005

Jewish members of the House of Representatives divided 25-1 on Thursday, Feb. 10, against a measure to require proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency for anyone applying for a driver's license anywhere in the country. Nevertheless, the legislation by House Judiciary Committee Chairman. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was adopted on a 261-161 vote.

The lone Jewish Congressman voting for the measure was Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Vir.)  The 25 Jewish members in opposition all were Democrats, except Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  Dubbed the "Real ID bill," the measure requires drivers licenses issued by the states to include a digital photo, anti-counterfeiting technology and be readable by machine. Supporters said that verifiable identification was necessary to combat terrorists, whereas opponents contended the measure potentially was the first step on a path leading toward requiring U.S. citizens to carry an internal passport.

Supported by President George W. Bush, the proposed legislation now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The 24 Jewish Democrats who voted against the measure, by state, were:

CALIFORNIAHoward Berman, Susan Davis, Bob Filner, Jane Harman, Tom LantosAdam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Henry Waxman
FLORIDADebbie Wasserman Schultz, Robert Wexler
ILLINOISRahm Emanuel, Jan Schakowsky
MICHIGANSander Levin
NEVADAShelley Berkley
NEW JERSEYSteve Rothman
NEW YORKGary Ackerman, Eliot Engel, Steve Israel, Nita Lowey, Jerrold Nadler, Anthony Weiner
PENNSYLVANIAAllyson Schwartz

—Donald H. Harrison