CRS to Hal Rogers: Do you even appropriate, bro?

A few days ago we discussed the utterly ridiculous claim made by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers that in the upcoming slapfight with Obama over his brutalization of immigration law the GOP could not touch the funding of the Citizenship and Immigration Service because it is funded mostly by fees paid by visa applicants. What Rogers did was tell us a lie that was so silly that it was disrespectful. Anyone with an IQ above mid-double digits would recognize it as such:

“This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications,” the committee said in a statement. “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.”

This claim failed on two levels. First, the employees are paid for by federal appropriations so Congress could forbid them to process documents related to Obama’s unlawful actions. Second, whether the funding comes from user fees or taxes Congress has clear authority under Article I of the US Constitution to control how all federal money is spent.

According to a Congressional Research Service report prepared for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Jeff Sessions84%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard84% (who, if the Senate has whit of common sense will remain as Budget Committee Chairman in the new Congress) obtained by this statement is simply bogus:

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. 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.

The fact that Rogers would be allowed to make such a bizarre claim …read more    

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