S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster met with Trump administration officials this weekend to discuss the state’s need for money to help repair its roads and to ask for a break on a federal ID law threatening South Carolinians’ ability to travel and gain access to federal facilities.
In Washington over the weekend, McMaster met privately with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and asked him whether South Carolina could get a waiver or another extension on its deadline to comply with the 2005 Real ID law.
McMaster said he has not received a response yet on his request.
“Of course, the secretary observed quite properly that the law is the law,” he told The State newspaper via telephone on Sunday.
The federal law is an attempt to modernize and standardize security features for state driver’s licenses in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Attackers used licenses from Virginia and Florida to board the airplanes they crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
McMaster called the Real ID law “another Washington, D.C., mandate on South Carolina that is a threat to our jobs and our economic prosperity.”
If South Carolina fails to comply with the law, S.C. driver’s license holders will need some other ID to board airplanes or gain access to secure federal facilities such as Fort Jackson and other military bases.
A military-rich state, South Carolina has been given extensions earlier.
State lawmakers are weighing bills that would make the state comply with the law.
McMaster also met privately with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss his request for $5 billion to improve the state’s roads and bridges and another $180 million for the Charleston port.
In Washington since Friday for the National Governors Association winter meeting, McMaster said he and other governors will attend a dinner at the White House on Sunday and will meet with the president.