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    Congress CAN pull financial rug from under Obama's immigration amnesty: Republicans g

    Congress CAN pull financial rug from under Obama's immigration amnesty: Republicans given boost by non-partisan body in row over deportation agency's cash

    *Republican civil war broke out after Obama's Nov. 20 'amnesty' speech over whether the GOP can stop the White House from issuing green cards and work permits

    *Congress's official fact-checkers now say the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill can legally pull the plug

    *At issue is whether immigration authorities can do whatever they want with fees they collect from immigrants, both legal and illegal

    *One congressional aide proposed a hypothetical situation where the Department of the Interior diverted National Parks entrance fees to give 'tap-dance lessons to grizzly bears'

    *'If we could stop that, we can stop this,' the staffer insisted

    By DAVID MARTOSKO, US POLITICAL EDITOR FOR MAILONLINE
    PUBLISHED: 16:13 EST, 26 November 2014 | UPDATED: 17:57 EST, 26 November 2014

    Conservatives in the U.S. Senate got a powerful weapon on Wednesday in the battle over whether they can pull the rug out from under President Barack Obama's plan to mainstream millions of illegal immigrants into American life.

    Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republican' top budget hawk, has unveiled a Nov. 21 memo from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) explaining that Congress can legally strip funding from America's immigration enforcement agency including funds the agency raises on its own through fees it charges Americans and foreigners.

    That news will put fuel in the tank of right-wingers who want to paint Obama into a corner when the GOP controls both houses of Congress in January.

    Citing 'Congress's constitutional power over the purse,' the CRS Capitol Hill's official nonpartisan research arm instructed Sessions that lawmakers can pick and choose what executive branch agencies can spend money on.

    'An agency is not free simply to disregard' those orders, the memo read.


    ROADBLOCK: Obama's plan to defer deportation for millions of illegal immigrants has set off an arms race on Capitol Hill between moderates who want to play along and conservatives who want to block him

    Some government agencies are funded by congressional 'appropriations' and others are 'self-funded' by fees, but the CRS memo indicates that Congress is in the driver's seat no matter what.

    That question had been left hanging in an internecine Republican feud that spilled out into news coverage and the blogosphere in the weeks since the midterm elections.

    Sessions and other Senate conservatives argue in favor of 'de-funding' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a subagency of the Homeland Security Department, in order to force an Obama administration retreat from what they term an 'amnesty' for more than 5 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

    Moderates, led by House Appropriations Committee chair Hal Rogers of Kentucky, insist the gesture would be an empty one since the White House could legally thumb its nose at Congress by self-funding the agency.

    USCIS will print and distribute green cards and work authorization cards for the millions of immigrants likely to benefit from Obama's executive order, announced last week. Those cards and other documents will cost money arguably bringing in more than the agency needs even if congressional Republicans try to freeze it out.

    Rogers cautioned last Thursday, after Obama unveiled his unprecedented immigration plan, that since 'Congress does not appropriate funds for any of [USCIS's] operations ... the Appropriations process cannot be used to "de-fund" the agency.'

    Obama's immigration bureaucracy, he argued, '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.'

    Rogers, multiple Capitol Hill sources confirmed Wednesday, is focused on passing a so-called 'omnibus' budget bill by December 11 when the current agreement funding the federal government expires and has ignored pleas from his right to force-feed the White House a series of piecemeal bills instead.

    While the normal appropriations procedure makes it difficult to seize control of fees that an agency like USCIS might use to plot its own course, a different maneuver writing a short piece of legislation would unlock what Congress needs.

    The Congressional Research Service sided with Sessions.

    Even if USCIS gets no money from Congress at all, the memo states, 'the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress.'

    'Importantly,' CRS adds, '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.'

    Confused?

    A senior aide to a conservative Republican House Appropriations Committee member told MailOnline on Wednesday that 'this analysis means Hal Rogers is way off-base.'

    'This is no different from entrance fees charged by the National Parks,' he said. 'Congress can certainly tell the Interior Department what it can and can't do with that money. Park rangers can't just stick their tongue out at us and spend that money doing something Congress forbids, like giving tap-dance lessons to grizzly bears.'

    'If we could stop that, we can stop this.'

    A second House aide said even if moderate Republicans weren't sure they had the authority to stop USCIS from printing green cards with its own money, 'they could just legislate that. It's not hard.'

    On the senate side, an aide close to the Budget Committee told MailOnline that the CRS report 'should be the end of this technical debate.'

    'The report clearly says Congress can use the appropriations process to deny the funds needed to implement the president's illegal amnesty and work authorization program,' the aide said.

    'The GOP made a promise to midterm voters to battle this amnesty and secure their livelihoods. This has become yet more imperative following confirmations that legalized populations will draw Social Security and Medicare checks from American families.'

    Sessions seemed ready to fight all 12 rounds last Thursday.

    'The House should send the Senate a government funding bill which ensures no funds can be spent for this unlawful purpose,' he said Nov. 20.

    On Wednesday his office sent MailOnline a statement insisting that '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.'

    'There is no question that Congress has the power to block this expenditure and no doubt that it can be done,' he said.

    Even a potential lawsuit, CRS wrote, would likely tilt in favor of lawmakers who want to tie Obama's hands.

    A court 'could find' that a congressional restriction on Homeland Security spending 'reached activities or agencies that were entirely fee-funded,' according to the report.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...tion-push.html
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    I think 6th grade civics when I learned that only the House could prose spending bills Congress had power of the purse. If courts disagree with that, who shredded the Constitution. We'd go to revolution, surely!!!
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    Having worked for state government in the early days of my career and been involved with the budget and fees process, it should not be any different for USCIS than it is for any agency that collects fees, on a state, local or federal level. The money still is part of general revenue, it's still part of the appropriations and spending process, and the agency is still accountable on the federal level to the Congress, the people of the United States and the courts as to where it stores the money, accounts for the money, and absolutely how it spends the money.

    This raises a series of questions though for several agencies that do not seem to consider themselves accountable to anyone, for example, where do they store the money? I would assume all money is deposited into the US Treasury. But do USCIS and DEA for example do something different with the money they collect? If anyone knows I would appreciate a reply. Thank you.
    Last edited by Judy; 11-27-2014 at 01:35 PM.
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    Senior Member patbrunz's Avatar
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    Exactly! It doesn't matter if it's coming from the General Fund or if it's fees collected by the agency. The Legislative branch decides HOW it is to be spent and authorizes that by APPROPRIATION.

    What makes me very suspicious is that the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers, would say what he did. He must know how the process works. I mean that's basic stuff. He obviously was lying to try to make people think the imperial decree by Barry couldn't be stopped. Rogers must be part of the Open Borders Lobby.
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    As I stated before Rogers disqualified himself by showing for all to see, including the party, to serve at a high level of governing. He is a victim of the "peter principle," promoted beyond his ability!! That now is indisputable fact!
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    Senior Member patbrunz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinssdad View Post
    As I stated before Rogers disqualified himself by showing for all to see, including the party, to serve at a high level of governing. He is a victim of the "peter principle," promoted beyond his ability!! That now is indisputable fact!
    Perhaps, but what's the evidence of his incompetence? Has he displayed other instances of not knowing how the process works? I think it's a purposeful lie to throw cold water on the idea of de-funding because he's a RINO and part of the Open Borders Lobby.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patbrunz View Post
    Perhaps, but what's the evidence of his incompetence? Has he displayed other instances of not knowing how the process works? I think it's a purposeful lie to throw cold water on the idea of de-funding because he's a RINO and part of the Open Borders Lobby.
    Yes, with 27 years of service on this Committee, he most certainly should know that his statement was not accurate and by making it, he was deliberately attempting to circumvent our law, will and Constitution. Shame on Rogers! Shame, Shame, Shame on him.
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    I still stand by that a liar is NOT qualified to serve at high levels, or any level of public service, That is in large part why I DO NOT vote democrat or republican. Both of those parties are full of liars, and if there are a few honest ones, they are not doing much, if anything, about policing the members of their party!!! Aiding and abetting a liar is encouraging the liars for party political advantage. That is not fair in relationships of any kind or type! Why did not Ted Cruz call Rogers a liar?? Hmmm, very good question.
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinssdad View Post
    I still stand by that a liar is NOT qualified to serve at high levels, or any level of public service, That is in large part why I DO NOT vote democrat or republican. Both of those parties are full of liars, and if there are a few honest ones, they are not doing much, if anything, about policing the members of their party!!! Aiding and abetting a liar is encouraging the liars for party political advantage. That is not fair in relationships of any kind or type! Why did not Ted Cruz call Rogers a liar?? Hmmm, very good question.
    Liar is right! There's no way with that much time and experience on this committee that Rogers didn't know his statements were outright lies and he needs to be removed from that Chairmanship and the Committee as soon as possible.
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