The House Appropriations Committee has told House Republicans that it’s impossible to stop President Obama’s immigration orders through defunding. Why? Because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is the agency responsible for carrying out anything that Obama does on immigration, is entirely funded through user fees. That’s right, it doesn’t receive funding through the federal budget, so preventing it from doing its job by eliminating funding is considerably more complicated than simply writing them out of the budget.
The GOP’s nutjobs have put increasing pressure on House Republicans to defund CIS if Obama’s immigration orders go through. These people, along with right-wing nutjobs in the media like Erick Erickson and Rush Limbaugh, have gone so far as to push for another budget showdown, and government shutdown, if that’s what it takes to stop Obama’s alleged tyranny. They refuse to even attempt to understand that anything Obama does about immigration on his own is temporary, and would be nullified if Congress would just pass immigration reform already.
The Hill has part of a statement from the Appropriations Committee that says:
“Congress does not appropriate funds for any of [CIS’] operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to ‘defund’ the agency.”
It’s absolutely astounding that Congressional Republicans don’t know this. Then again, it’s absolutely astounding what they don’t know about how our government works, period.
We shouldn’t put it past Congressional Republicans to try and change how CIS gets its funding, just so they can control it better, and ensure that Obama’s immigration orders never happen again. They’ve tried some ridiculous things in the past, such as changing House rules at the last minute before last year’s shutdown, so that the Majority Leader was the only one who could bring a bill to the floor for a vote. Changing how CIS gets its funding, though, would take creating and passing a bill, and getting it signed into law.
The Hill reports that one budget expert believes that Congress does have options when it comes to dealing with Obama’s immigration orders, besides passing a law like the above. They could put a rider on the budget that uses specific authorization language. However, with either option, they’ll face such significant obstacles that it wouldn’t be worth it.
Of course, some House Republicans aren’t buying that line from the Appropriations Committee at all, according to The Hill. Representative Steve King (R-IA) told reporters that the committee is “contriving red herring arguments” to get Republicans to put their hands up in defeat, saying, “Well, there’s nothing we can do.”
Representative Jeff Sessions (R-LA) said:
“The American people’s Congress has the power and every right to deny funding for unworthy activities. It is a routine and constitutional application of congressional power. There is no question that Congress has the power to block this expenditure and no doubt that it can be done.”
The people elect the President, too, lest the Republicans somehow forget that. The GOP really needs to give this a rest, and actually do something, like passing immigration reform, and passing a clean budget. Instead, they’re wasting time, and money, quibbling about Obama’s immigration orders, when they could have stopped this any time they wanted by simply passing a bill.
Featured image by Pete Souza. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons