The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says Congress has the power to block funding for President Obama’s executive action on immigration, refuting a position taken by the top House appropriator.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., has argued that Congress can’t block funding to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency charged with enforcing the president’s calls to authorize work permits and other paperwork for illegal immigrants living in the U.S., because it operates mostly on fees it collects rather than federal tax revenue.
But a CRS report requested by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and obtained by the Washington Examiner Wednesday says Congress can block funding to the agency, even if its budget is dependent on fees.
“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 said.
In many cases, the money is doled put through the annual congressional appropriations process, CRS says. In other instances, it has been an appropriation that has been enacted independently through other means.
“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,” CRS said.
Sessions said the report suggests it is “just plain wrong” to assume the White House can use the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency to circumvent Congress to implement his immigration plan.“The American people’s Congress has the power and every right to deny funding for unworthy activities,” the Republican said. “There is no question that Congress has the power to block this expenditure and no doubt that it can be done.”