In addition to Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who is getting set to have his committee mark up the President Barack Obama executive amnesty-backing omnibus spending package Speaker John Boehner introduced late Tuesday, there are eight additional Republicans on the committee who will officially enable the bill on Wednesday afternoon.
Those Republicans on the Rules Committee–who will provide the procedural cover Boehner needs to get the Obama executive amnesty backing bill onto the House floor–are: Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Tom Cole (R-OK), Rob Woodall (R-GA), Richard Nugent (R-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Michael Burgess (R-TX). If any of them votes to advance the bill to the floor, they are in effect endorsing everything contained within the legislation–including the never-ending funding for Obama’s executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.
The Rules Committee mark-up hearing is set to begin at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast live on C-SPAN.
Heritage Action says that the bill is a “blank check” for Obama’s amnesty. That’s because, despite 451 other instances where funding is blocked in the legislation–several of which, according to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard, are on fee-based entities despite claims from some Republicans like Pete Sessions and House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) that Republicans can’t touch that type of thing–there is no attempt to block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) concluded in a report for incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that Congress can in fact block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty in an appropriations bill. CRS wrote in that report:
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. 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.
As it turns out, on Wednesday, a new CRS report that Pete Sessions commissioned surfaced. That report, provided to Bedard’s Washington Examiner colleague David Drucker, added further that even though Congress can block funds collected by those fees from being expended on executive amnesty in this appropriations bill if it chose to do so, doing nothing–as Congress is doing with this bill–requires no reauthorization.
“Current law further provides a permanent, indefinite authority for use of the adjudication fees in that account for specified purposes,” Drucker quotes the CRS report as reading. “As a consequence, the authority to expend these fees is controlled outside the annual appropriations process and does not depend on annual action by Congress.”
So, what CRS has said is that Congress can stop the funds from flowing in the appropriations bill just like any of the other fee-based operations this omnibus bill blocks funding for–but it doesn’t need to reauthorize them for the funds to keep flowing if it chooses to do nothing.
The new CRS report that Pete Sessions requested, a congressional GOP aide noted, is nothing more than a distraction meant to confuse members as Boehner, Pete Sessions, and their allies seek to back up Obama’s amnesty move and corral the votes necessary to pass the bill.
“This is news?” the aide said. “CRS already confirmed Congress can block the spending of funds, including those that come from fee collections. And yes, a law is required to do that. I guess the only real news here is the extent to which some are determined to protect the President’s unlawful behavior. It’s quite sad, really.”
Because of Pete Sessions’ chicanery on behalf of Obama’s amnesty, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin is calling on all congressional Republicans to kill the Rules Committee process by which he’ll enable Boehner’s omnibus bill.
“If the Rules Committee won’t allow the proper amendments, the Rule should be taken down; if the necessary language blocking funding for executive amnesty is not added, the bill should be defeated,” Martin said, while urging “fellow concerned citizens” to visit Tea Party Patriots’ website “for more information and to get in touch with your Member of Congress and demand it.”