The proof that the U.S. House can in fact defund federal agencies even if it is a fee-based agency.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has concluded that House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) is wrong, and that Congress can in fact block funding for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order.
“In light of Congress’s constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that ‘Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes,’” the CRS, a legislative authority on Capitol Hill, wrote in a report sent to incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). “Where Congress has done so, ‘an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities.’ Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.”
Even if an agency like the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operates on fees rather than tax revenues appropriated by Congress, the Congress can still block funding for the implementation of such matters as Obama’s executive amnesty. CRS wrote:
A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act).
In a closed-door meeting this morning, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pitched House Republicans a plan to pass a government funding bill that punts defunding President Obama’s executive amnesty until next spring! The Speaker’s proposal comes as Congress is racing to pass a budget before the government runs out of funding on December 11.
Under the Speaker’s plan, the House will vote on two bills. First, the House may vote as early as THURSDAY on a bill authored by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) that prohibits the executive branch from exempting from deportation “persons unlawfully present in the United States.” But with Democrats still controlling the Senate, this bill will be dead on arrival. Even Rep. Yoho has said the vote on his bill will be merely “symbolic.” Then, Congress will consider an appropriations bill that funds most of the government through September 2015, but only funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until March.
Thus, under the Speaker’s plan, the government funding will go through, but nothing will be done to stop the President’s executive amnesty.
If Speaker Boehner succeeds with his plan, Congress won’t take up the issue of defunding the executive amnesty until months from now — if at all!!! In fact, many who support the President’s actions hope that the extra time will quell public outrage at the President’s executive amnesty and help Members avoid defunding it altogether! Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated he supports the Speaker’s plan.
We need your help IMMEDIATELY! House Leaders must commit to defunding the President’s executive amnesty NOW! Call your Representative and tell him/her:
- You oppose President Obama’s executive amnesty.
- You expect House Speaker John Boehner to keep his promise that he would fight President Obama’s executive amnesty “tooth and nail.”
- You won’t be fooled by a plan designed to let the President’s executive amnesty proceed.
- You demand that your Representative act NOW to defund the President’s executive amnesty.
If your Representative supports the President’s executive amnesty, call House Leaders and send them the same message:
|House Speaker John Boehner:||202-225-0600|
|House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy:||202-225-4000|
|House Majority Whip Steve Scalise:||202-225-0197|