In the classic television series, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Detective John Munch — played by Richard Belzer — confronts a murder suspect over lying to him. He isn’t upset about the lie, he expects that, what he’s upset about is that the lie is so implausible that it is actually an insult:
As a prelude to Obama’s address last night declaring which laws he will and won’t enforce, House Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers permitted one of the most dishonest statement ever uttered by an American politician to be issued:
In a statement released by Committee Chairman Hal Rogers’s (R-Ky.) office hours before Obama’s scheduled national address, the committee said the primary agency responsible for implementing Obama’s actions is funded entirely by user fees.
As a result, the committee said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) agency would be able to continue to collect fees and carry out its operations even if the government shut down.
“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, politely, is balderdash, though the technical term is “screaming bare faced lie.” Not only is it a lie, it is a lie that is the insult to the intelligence of anyone who reads it or has it read to them.
At The Federalist, Sean Davis pretty well demolishes the argument:
And from that power of the purse come the most powerful words in federal law: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds shall be appropriated or otherwise made available for ______.”
That’s it. That’s literally all it takes. It doesn’t matter if the spending is mandatory or discretionary, good or bad, wasteful or essential; when that sentence becomes law, it nukes whatever spending it touches up until the point at which that sentence is repealed or superseded by a future law.
Republicans can add defunding language to any bill whenever they so choose. The issue is not that they can’t use the power of the purse to block Obama’s lawless power grab. The issue is that they don’t want to. The real shame is that they can’t even be honest about that.
But to be fair, let’s address Rogers statement on …read more