This article reprinted with permission of Stateline.org

Congress and the Obama administration are considering ceding key ground in a long-running battle between the federal government and the states over Real ID, the 4-year-old federal program that requires all states to start issuing more secure driver's licenses by the end of the year.

Proposed legislation being circulated on Capitol Hill would give states more time, flexibility and money to meet federal Real ID requirements.

For the nation's more than 245 million drivers, the legislation would allow them to keep using their current driver's licenses to board commercial flights or enter federal buildings for the foreseeable future. Under Real ID, residents of states that do not meet a checklist of license upgrades would be unable to use those licenses for federal purposes beginning in January.

The congressional proposal may have the backing of the Obama administration. In an appearance Wednesday (April 22) in Washington, D.C., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano gave the clearest indication to date that the administration plans to push for changes that are favorable to the states.


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