Possible 'ammunition' against Obama's amnesty riles some Republicans
Republicans eager to see the "power of the purse" strategy go away on Obama's executive amnesty got a shock from the Congressional Research Service this week.
Eric Pianin at the Fiscal Times lays out the background: according to House Appropriations committee chair Hal Rogers (R-KY, pictured), the House can't defund Obama's executive orders because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services operates on "user fees" and thus "doesn't depend on appropriate funds approved by Congress."
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), however, contends that as a matter of fact, the House most definitely does "formally authorize" even fee-based agencies. Per the CRS, "[a]mounts 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 that agency[.]"
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who requested the CRS report, hit the nail on the head in his commentary: "On its face, the suggestion that the White House can implement any unlawful and unconstitutional act so long as it pays for it with assessed fees is just plain wrong."
The idea of Republicans, beset by the people who gave them an electoral wave just this month, throwing their hands up in the air and saying, Sorry, we can't do anything because...fees is indeed absurd. It goes in the same category as pre-emptively skittering away from the very whisper of a government shutdown – we have high-ranking leaders in the Republican Party breathlessly assuring their base that while they appreciate the votes, there's nothing they can do to actually implement the voters' desired agenda. Because, you see, if fees are involved, a certain magic takes place whereby Congress is rendered powerless to use one of its primary checks against the other two branches of the government.
Then again, this may all be moot. At the end of the day, Pianin notes, "nothing about the appropriations process – or the president's executive order, for that matter – is clear-cut at this point." Shades of Obamacare here: best, according to our ruling class, to bewilder the public with reams of Gruberian gibberish or vague legislation-by-speech, let the government run wild interpreting the morass, and then work around any problems the Supreme Court brings up (maybe) years later, after the damage has been done.
After six years of lawlessness, one can expect these outrages from the Obama administration. The fact that Republicans are indulging them is disturbing.
Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.