House conservatives are considering legislative language that would prohibit appropriations or fees from being used by any agency charged with carrying out President Obama’s executive amnesty, according to Britain’s MailOnline.
The text conservatives hope to insert into an upcoming spending bill, revealed by the newspaper on Monday, reads that “no part of any appropriation,” including “funds or fees collected or otherwise made available for expenditure, may be used by any agency to implement, administer, enforce or carry out any of the policy changes set forth” in Obama’s recent executive orders on immigration.
While Republicans have been relatively unified in their rejection of President Obama’s executive orders — which include providing legal status for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants and further limits on immigration enforcement — the GOP has yet to coalesce around a strategy to confront the executive’s unilateral actions.
Some House Republicans have pushed to use the power of the purse to block the orders, a strategy favored by many conservatives.
Before Congress left for Thanksgiving recess, however, the House Appropriations Committee attempted to pour cold water over the idea, saying the agency that would carry out many of Obama’s executive actions — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — cannot be defunded through the appropriations process because it is entirely fee-funded.
But last week, the Congressional Research Service sent a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) reporting that Congress does have the ability to restrict expenditures by an agency.
“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,” CRS wrote. “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 either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.”
According to MailOnline, conservatives are pushing leadership to include the aggressive defunding language in the spending bill that must pass by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown.
Tuesday morning, House Republicans will meet to discuss a possible strategy. Politico has reported that leadership currently favors a two-bill approach. One would fund most of the government through September 2015, and another that would fund immigration-related functions through the early months of next year.