Republican Committee On Appropriations Cannot Defund President Obama’s Executive Order On Immigration, Even If The GOP Shut-Down The Government. [NYT]

Here is the full statement from the House Appropriations Committee on its view that it could not deny funding to the agency responsible for carrying out executive action on immigration, which President Obama is to announce tonight:

 

“The primary agency for implementing the president’s new immigration executive order is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications. Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its 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. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new executive order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.”

 

Mr. Obama’s speech on immigration policy tonight will be praised by most Democrats and lambasted by most Republicans, who contend that Mr. Obama is abusing his authority to provide work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants.

 

But congressional opponents who believe the best way to block the president’s new initiative is to cut off government funds for it could be in for a severe disappointment.

 

Officials of the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee have concluded that the government agency most responsible for implementing any new executive order — Citizenship and Immigration Services — would not be hindered if government funds are cut off; it operates entirely on revenue it generates through immigration applications.

 

In short, lawmakers have no fiscal leverage over the agency, which could keep operating even if the rest of the government was shut down.

 

“Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the E-verify program,” the committee said in a statement. “Therefore the appropriations process cannot be used to ‘de-fund’ the agency.”

 

Republican congressional leaders acknowledge it could be politically disastrous for Republicans to engineer a shutdown just as they are about to take control of Congress.

 

Leaders of the Appropriations Committee say the best course is to act responsibly, pass a legislative package financing the government for the 2015 fiscal year and then find other ways to squeeze the administration when Republicans control the House and Senate, beginning in January.

 

The warning that a shutdown wouldn’t shut down the agency handling the new policy was meant to underscore that point. – [Carl Hulse NYT]

 

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BARACK OBAMA - EXEC ORDER NOV 20 14 

 

 

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