At least eight Senate Democrats have expressed opposition to President Obama’s latest executive amnesty, which would grant quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): “We are all frustrated with our broken immigration system, but the way forward is not unilateral action by the president.” (“Landrieu splits with Obama on immigration action,” Associated Press, 11/21/14), http://apne.ws/1z957xJ)
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN): “It is clear the immigration system in this country is broken, and only Congress has the ability to change the law to fix it…I am as frustrated as anyone that Congress is not doing its job, but the president shouldn’t make such significant policy changes on his own.” (“Donnelly sees Obama immigration move as too much,” The Courier-Journal, 11/20/14, http://cjky.it/14T2SW9)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): “Our immigration system is broken, and I support a comprehensive plan to fix it, but executive orders aren’t the way to do it.” (“Local Lawmakers Oppose Obama’s Immigration Action,” KOLR10 News, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1FHJdUy)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “I disagree with the President’s decision to use executive action to make changes to our immigration system, and I disagree with the House’s decision to not even take a vote on the bipartisan Senate legislation that overwhelmingly passed in June 2013.” (“Obama announces immigration plan; WV reps react,” MetroNews, 11/20/14, http://bit.ly/1vbQOcM)
Some have asserted lawmakers have “no fiscal leverage” over USCIS, the agency that will be tasked with carrying out a key plank of President Obama’s executive amnesty program. The New York Times put it this way last week:
“Officials of the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee have concluded that the government agency most responsible for implementing any new executive order — the Citizenship and Immigration Services — would not be hindered if government funds are cut off; it operates entirely on revenue it generates through immigration applications.”
Ironically, a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee later acknowledged “a rider on the executive order” can be attached to a funding bill. Two additional data points suggest Congress can act to block Obama’s executive actions: 1) President Obama has signed into law (Public Law No: 113-76) congressional restrictions on the use of user fee funded accounts within the Department of Homeland Security; and 2) 25 of the 28 Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee – including the chairman and every cardinal – voted (2014 House Vote #479) to deny “Federal funding or resources” for an expansion of Obama’s executive amnesty plan.
Today, Breitbart reported that the Congressional Research Service found “Congress can in fact block funding for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty order.” Below is an excerpt of that report:
As President Obama prepares to take a series of unlawful execution actions on immigration – including amnesty and work permits for roughly five million illegal immigrants – the phrase “government shutdown” has resurfaced. Is a government shutdown the inevitable outcome of confronting Obama’s lawlessness? Apparently not. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to say the President would veto a government spending bill that included a provision that would defund his executive amnesty.
Reporter: SO YOU DON’T RULE OUT THE PRESIDENT SIGNING INTO LAW SOMETHING THAT WOULD UNDO THE VERY THING HE’S GOING TO ANNOUNCE TOMORROW NIGHT?
Earnest: I THINK THAT SEEMS — I THINK WE’LL HAVE TO SORT OF EVALUATE FOR OURSELVES WHAT PROPOSALS REPUBLICANS PUT FORWARD. I WOULDN’T WANT TO HAZARD A GUESS AT THIS POINT.
The full exchange and video are below:
The “newest gambit” in the inevitable amnesty showdown is something called a Rescission Bill. Yesterday, Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, floated the idea to his colleagues:
“Chairman Rogers just got up and said if we pass an omnibus and then the president does this executive amnesty, he said we can rescind it, and we can rescind it with 218 and 51 and we don’t need the president.”
Small problem: it isn’t true.
As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) notes, “As budget authority providing the funding must be enacted into law, so too a rescission cancelling the budget authority must be enacted into law.” Any rescission bill must be signed by President Obama, or 291 House members and 67 Senators must override his veto. In other words, a rescission bill is no different than any other stand-alone bill Congress could pass that involves no special leverage or expedited process.
Heritage Action welcomes creative thinking from congressional Republicans so long as creativity is not a synonym for inaction or delay. Clearly the promise of a future rescission bill is nothing more than a blank check for Obama’s executive amnesty.
Americans from all sectors of society use the Internet for social and economic reasons. Many use it as a means of climbing the economic ladder. That’s why every American has a vested interest in the debate in Washington over the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) and the Internet sales tax (IST).
ITFA, a moratorium on discriminatory state and local taxes on the Internet (i.e. “email taxes”), is something Americans on both sides of the aisle and opposite ends of the political spectrum support.
Some lawmakers are trying to hold the moratorium hostage until they can attach to it a very unpopular tax on Internet sales, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). The MFA would allow states to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit their sales taxes, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in the state.
Before ITFA’s passage in 1998, 10 states had imposed taxes on Internet usage. Over the past 16 years, Congress has renewed the moratorium four times, most recently in 2007, which means the moratorium is constantly under threat of not being continued should revenue-hungry lawmakers get their way. This year, the House passed a bill by unanimous voice vote extending the moratorium indefinitely, but the Senate failed to do the same, instead extending ITFA only until Dec. 11, 2014.