One year ago, President Obama stated, “You don’t like a particular policy, or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it.”
Just last month, the American people spoke loudly and clearly at the polls. With the addition of several new seats in the U.S. House, as well as Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate, it is clear that the American people are opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants.
And yet, despite this, President Obama recently announced his plans to prevent the deportation of up to 5 million illegal immigrants by way of executive action. This is not the way to govern. In fact, the President’s behavior amounts to a virtual coup against Congress and the Constitution itself. Our Founding Fathers put in place a system of checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power, and it’s high time Congress start using its powers as our Founders intended. According to Article I, Section 9, the power of the purse in vested in the U.S. Congress. As such, Congress controls the ability to block President Obama’s immigration plans through the appropriations process.
According to the independent Congressional Research Service (CRS), “Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes.” This means that despite GOP claims that agencies such as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — which are tasked with the printing of work authorization and documents for illegal immigrants — cannot be defunded due to their operation on collected fees, CRS has stated otherwise.
The report shows that even agencies which are funded by collected fees rather than tax revenues, such as USCIS, can still have the use of funds restricted by Congress. According to the report, “…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.” In other words, no matter how USCIS receives their funding, Congress still has the ability to restrict the use of those funds.
It’s time for the U.S. House of Representatives to exercise its power of the purse, and send the Senate a funding bill which restricts the use of funds to be used for the purpose of grating amnesty. If the House refuses to do so, then at the very least, we must pass a short-term spending bill that funds the government until the beginning of next year and then resume the fight with a Republican-controlled House and Senate in the 114th Congress.
Whether this happens or not depends on the voice of the most powerful political force in the nation, “We the People.” I urge the American people to contact their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate — to flood their phone lines and inboxes — and tell them you support Congress using its power of the purse to block the president’s immigration plans. President Obama is not king, and it is up to the American people to hold their president and their elected representatives accountable.