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November 20, 2014

After Barack I Issues His Amnesty Decree, The Ball Is In The GOP's Court

As usual the fight before the fight is to force the GOP to fight. So what's the state of play in terms of the GOP's response to His Imperial Majesty's forthcoming proclamation?

The first fight is over the upcoming Continuing Resolution. Right now the government is funded through the middle of December. The first choice is to pass a new CR that funds the government through September of next year or a shorter term one that would give the new GOP controlled Congress far more sway over it (question- even without an amnesty fight, why would the GOP let Harry Reid have so much control of the spending for the rest of the fiscal year?).

Naturally the GOP establishment, led by Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers wants to let the Democrats have as much say as possible and is advocating for a full year CR in December.

The bottom line from the election is this: The American people want a government that works for them. They want action on the issues that are meaningful and important to the country and to their daily lives. They do not want, nor will tolerate any longer, the circular and corrosive politicking that has infected our system and that is designed for quick cable TV news bites and little else. The best way for Congress to fulfill this mandate is to bring no-nonsense governing and regularity to the federal funding process. At the core, this means “regular order” for appropriations bills — enacting funding bills on time, and in a responsible, transparent and pragmatic way, without the specter of government shutdowns or the lurching, wasteful and unproductive budgeting caused by temporary stopgap measures.

The day-to-day work of the appropriations process isn’t always headline-grabbing, but it is essential to the basic functioning of our government. It is the head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone legislation that Congress can and should enact, but that has been stymied in the past few years by internal political battles, and, frankly, a Senate that largely refused to participate in the process.

However, to get back to this regular order in the new Congress, we have to first clear the decks on the leftover, current-year appropriations work. We are now months behind in completing these annual bills, and the current temporary measure keeping the lights on in our government will expire on Dec. 11.

But of course Rogers wants you to know he's super serious about fighting Obama's amnesty so he has a plan...pass the Harry Reid approved CR now and pull the money out of the budget for it during the year using a process called "rescission".

There's one problem, rescission is a scam and Rogers and his ilk know it.

(*See note/correction below)

Officials of the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee have concluded that the government agency most responsible for implementing any new executive order — Citizenship and Immigration Services — would not be hindered if government funds are cut off; it operates entirely on revenue it generates through immigration applications.

In short, lawmakers have no fiscal leverage over the agency, which could keep operating even if the rest of the government was shut down.

“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,” the committee said in a statement. “Therefore the appropriations process cannot be used to ‘de-fund’ the agency.”

(*See note/correction below)

They are trying to scam you with this, pass the CR now and we'll fight later bit. As Jon Gruber might say, they are relying on the stupidity of the American voter. Don't be Gruber bait.

So what can be done? Sorry Team GOP but Ted Cruz has the answer.


When the president usurps the legislative power and defies the limits of his authority, it becomes all the more imperative for Congress to act. And Congress should use those powers given to it by the Constitution to counter a lawless executive branch—or it will lose its authority.

If the president announces executive amnesty, the new Senate majority leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.

This is a potent tool given to Congress by the Constitution explicitly to act as a check on executive power. It is a constitutional power of the majority leader alone, and it would serve as a significant deterrent to a lawless president.

Additionally, the new Congress should exercise the power of the purse by passing individual appropriations bills authorizing critical functions of government and attaching riders to strip the authority from the president to grant amnesty.

President Obama will no doubt threaten a shutdown—that seems to be the one card he repeatedly plays—but Congress can authorize funding for agencies of government one at a time. If the President is unwilling to accept funding for, say, the Department of Homeland Security without his being able to unilaterally defy the law, he alone will be responsible for the consequences.

A presidential temper tantrum is not an acceptable means of discourse.

In order for the Congress to exercise the "power of the purse" it first must not give up that power.

But shutdowns are terrible Team GOP will cry! First, they clearly aren't. You need look no further than the results of two weeks ago for proof of that. But no one is talking about a shutdown. Everything would be funded, there would just be language that says the policy of the US government is not to give out work permits to these illegal aliens.

What's different this time is the GOP would no doubt pick up some red state Democrat votes and they'd be fighting Obama over something that's deeply unpopular. Even retiring Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin says there's nothing extreme in this approach.

And finally, a good rundown on the case for fighting Obama on this (read it all)

A short-term hit in the polls in an off year is less consequential to Republican electoral prospects than the wrath of conservatives at a GOP – given a congressional majority barely two weeks ago to, in part, thwart the lunacy emanating from the White House — that caves in its very first fight with a deeply unpopular president.

Media opprobrium in January 2015 is less consequential to Republican electoral prospects than millions of disgusted Republican voters staying at home in November 2016.

The amnesty-by-executive order, as reported, is an affront to the American voter, the American worker, the Constitution, and the American civic ethos.

Media will continue to trash Republicans (and fawn over Hillary in 2016) regardless of what Republicans do about amnesty.

Republicans can’t out-pander Democrats for Hispanic votes.

Country trumps individual political ambition.

Country trumps party.

Defund the damn order.

*I'm told by Sean Davis of The Federalist I've got this wrong but so does the staffer who said this. Sean, who worked on the Hill, says that statement isn't about rescission but the appropriations process in general. He says the idea the people claiming this can't be defunded are "wrong about that, and laughably so."

So there's that.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 10:34 AM

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