“THE POWER OF THE PURSE”

by E Dee Monnen, ©2014

(Nov. 27, 2014) — Obama’s recent order on illegal alien amnesty was not only unconstitutional, but it was the butt of jokes on Saturday Night Live.  The Constitution states that Congress is the only body that can make law, and it also has the sole responsibility to determine lawful alien status.   So what should Congress do in response to Obama’s overreach?  The power of the purse is the most expedient and appropriate solution. This would require Congress to cut off funding to the Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS), the agency charged with implementing Obama’s amnesty program.

In an article by Rebecca Shabad, THE HILL reported on November 20, that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers released a statement on Congress’s inability to defund the CIS.  It stated:  “This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications. Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to ‘defund’ the agency.”

But not so fast, Chairman Rogers! Americans ought to be very thankful that there is at least one person on Capitol Hill, Senator Jeff Sessions (hopefully many more), who actually reads our Constitution. He sought an opinion from the Congressional Research Service to strengthen his disagreement with Chairman Rogers on defunding the CIS.  Senator Sessions released what they found:

“The money 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.

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.”

–Hat tip Numbers USA for bringing the Sessions’ discovery to our attention.

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