1/4/15, “Exclusive–David Brat: Next House Speaker Must Tackle Trillion-Dollar Problems,” Rep. David Brat, Breitbart
“Whoever runs for the Republican leadership of the U.S. House on Tuesday must communicate on paper how Congress is going to lead on the big issues. The American people elected us to solve trillion-dollar problems, not to kick the can down the road with only symbolic votes. My district expects any leader to clearly outline bold solutions on the major issues of our day, such as:
· How he or she will defend the Constitution and challenge President Obama’s repeated illegal overreach into areas of congressional authority, particularly his unconstitutional amnesty by presidential decree;
· How he will end Washington’s out-of-control spending and debt addiction that is mortgaging our children’s future and promises to cripple our economy within the next decade;
· How he will defund Obamacare to stop skyrocketing insurance premiums on struggling families as well as the destruction of jobs it’s causing;
· How he will stop excessive regulations like the EPA’s overregulation of farms and small businesses – regulations that have made it prohibitively expensive to run a business and create jobs.
These are not just my priorities. These are the priorities that the American people expressed loudly and clearly on November 4th. And these need to be the priorities of the leaders of this next Congress.
These are reasonable positions. So when reason is losing the argument, it’s clear that something else is taking its place – personal interests over what’s in the best interest of the country. The American people know they are being shortchanged, and they want action, not talking points.
Our current leadership was recently tested when Mr. Obama attempted to circumvent Congress and the law by unilaterally granting amnesty to illegal immigrants by presidential decree. His decree provides illegal immigrants with work permits, legal status, and free federal entitlements. But on a much more significant front, his action shows a complete disregard for our constitutional system where Congress makes the laws and the president’s duty is to enforce them.
The House leadership and every member of Congress took an oath to defend the Constitution, and we have a duty to stop the president when he ignores it. The most powerful remedy the Congress has in these situations is the power to defund his illegal action.
We had an opportunity to do that last month when Representatives Mick Mulvaney, Matt Salmon, and I led in co-sponsoring an amendment to the CRomnibus spending bill that would have stripped it of funding for executive amnesty. We were joined by 64 other House members, but were told that there was no time to amend the bill before the vote. That meant the CRomnibus bill passed and provided the president with the funds for his scheme.
Why was there no time to amend the bill? Because the leadership hid the 1,774-page CRomnibus from members of Congress and the public until the last minute, giving us just 48 hours to try to read through it before voting on it. Further, why did the leadership allow funding for illegal amnesty to be included in the bill in the first place? And why was the leadership willing to whip votes with the president and the House Democrats to pass the bill, but not willing to work with House Republicans to stop the funding of an illegal act?
But the CRomnibus didn’t just fund illegal amnesty. It was a $1.1 trillion spending bill that did nothing to reduce spending or work toward balancing the budget. It also funded Obamacare when the House had pledged to repeal it. And it funded the economy-killing overregulation of agencies like the EPA, which are destroying American jobs when we have millions looking for work.
In recent days and weeks, I have given careful consideration as to how I would cast my vote for Speaker of the House. I do not cast this vote as an individual, but on behalf of the citizens of Virginia’s Seventh District who sent me to Washington to act as their representative. While I like Speaker Boehner personally, he will not have my support for Speaker.
Washington is broken in part because our party’s leadership has strayed from its own principles of free market, limited government, constitutional conservatism. We are at a crucial turning point in our country’s history – do we truly want free markets, or does cronyism remain in place? Do we want the rule of law, or will amnesty for cheap illegal labor win the day?
In my campaign, I heard over and over from my constituents that they don’t feel Washington is working for them. They feel like they are always on the losing end of most every deal struck inside the beltway – that somehow the ordinary working man and woman keep drawing the short straw. And year after year, government gets bigger, the debt swells, and the bureaucracy engulfs the citizen a little bit more. The scope of the problem is in the trillions, but the solutions offered so far have only been in the billions – not even scratching the surface of what needs to be done to get this country back on track. The people hope for a Republican leader to step forward and help fellow members fight on these issues – and for the very future of America.” via Free Rep.
Comment: Rep. Brat mentions “defunding ObamaCare” and spoke earlier about defunding executive amnesty. The House has 100% unilateral ability to defund gov. spending without approval of Senate or White House. As CNS News reported, the GOP seems to be attempting to nullify the Constitution’s Power of the Purse provided to the House absolutely as well as trying to convince the public that the Constitution doesn’t say what it does:
11/21/14, “Will Boehner’s House Unilaterally Nullify Its Power of the Purse?“ CNS News, Terence P. Jeffrey
“The Constitution is unambiguous about which branch of the federal government has the authority to make laws governing immigration and control all money spent from the Treasury. It is Congress.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 gives Congress the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
For President Obama to succeed in carrying out his plan to unilaterally change the status of illegal immigrants, two things must happen:
1) He must usurp the constitutional authority of Congress to make immigration laws, and
2) Congress must decline to use its constitutional power of the purse to stop him.
Now a third thing could happen: The Republican-controlled House, led by Speaker John Boehner, may not only decline to use its power of the purse to stop Obama from usurping authority over immigration laws, it may also try persuade the nation it does not actually have that power when it comes to immigration laws.
On Thursday, a New York Times blog published a statement from the House Appropriations Committee that suggested Congress had no control over the funding of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and that therefore the agency could “expand operations as under a new executive order” no matter what Congress said in a continuing resolution to fund the government.
I contacted the committee via email to confirm the statement published by the Times and to ask if the committee believes that Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution applies to CIS.
The committee sent me verbatim exactly the same statement that had been published by the Times. It said:
“The primary agency for implementing the president’s new immigration executive order is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 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 ‘de-fund’ the agency. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new Executive Order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.”
Responding on background, an Appropriations Committee aide said in an email: “You could ‘defund’ the CIS, but it would take an authorization/change to underlying statute that impacts their use of fees. This is an authorization issue, not an appropriations issue.”
“Even if such an authorization change were to be attached to an omnibus bill via a rider, the president would veto the bill, and the government would shut down,” said the aide. “At that point, the CIS would still not be defunded and would continue to operate, given that it is fee-funded.”
I followed up by sending the staffer a passage from Justice Joseph Story’s “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States.” Story was named to the court by President James Madison, a leading Framer of the Constitution.
“The object is apparent upon the slightest examination,” Story wrote about the Article 1, Section 9 power of the purse. “It is to secure regularity, punctuality, and fidelity, in the disbursements of the public money. As all the taxes raised from the people, as well as the revenues arising from other sources, are to be applied to the discharge of the expenses, and debts, and other engagements of the government, it is highly proper, that congress should possess the power to decide, how and when any money should be applied for these purposes. If it were otherwise, the executive would possess an unbounded power over the public purse of the nation; and might apply all its monied resources at his pleasure.”
I asked: “Is it not a different thing to say the president would veto it than to say the committee does not have the power to stop the expenditure of funds on this? Also, does the committee reject Joseph Story’s interpretation of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 when he said that it applied to “all the taxes raised from the people, as well as the revenues arising from other sources”? … Does the committee believe that fees collected by a federal agency and then drawn from the Treasury and spent are not covered by its power under Article I, Section 9, Clause 7?”
Speaking again on background, the committee aide responded via email: “As per the underlying statute, CIS is funded outside of appropriations. The fees are collected and spent according to the underlying authorization (The Immigration and Nationality Act), and are not subject to the appropriations process. Congress can indeed change CIS’s ability to collect and spend fees, but it would require a change in the authorization.”
1) If Obama spends “fees” collected into the Treasury by CIS to implement unilateral executive actions he is not acting on the “underlying authorization,” he is defying it.
2) It does not matter whether the government brings money into the Treasury through a tax, a fee or selling debt to the People’s Republic of China, the Constitution says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
3) It appears that Republican congressional leaders do not want to take any effective action to protect either the constitutional authority of Congress to make the immigration laws or the power of the purse that protects Americans against a president spending money from the Treasury “at his pleasure.””
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, the economist who defeated Eric Cantor, supports power of the purse to defund Obama executive order:
“Brat acknowledged that the agency is self-funded through immigration application fees, but that the appropriations committee voted in August to determine how the agency spends those fees.”…
11/21/14, “Brat: ‘Not one thin dime’ for Obama’s immigration plan,“ Richmond Times-Dispatch,
The 7th District’s newly elected Congressman vowed via Twitter Thursday night that he supports, “Not one thin dime,” to fund the proposed actions outlined by President Barack Obama to deal with the broken immigration system.
“I support using the power of the purse to defund Obama’s amnesty,” tweeted Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, the economist, replacing Eric Cantor, who recently took office in Washington….
Brat said he would not vote to fund a program “that subverts the law or encourages tens of thousands more people to risk their lives illegally crossing our border.“ He said the U.S. House should “use its power of the purse” to defund in the current budget bill “Obama’s illegal executive action.”
“We must fund the rest of government with a short-term bill while, in a separate bill, defund the appropriations for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services programs that the president intends to use to carry out this act,” Brat said.
The newly elected 7th District representative called the presidential action an “attempt to give amnesty to five million illegal aliens,” saying it was unfair to others “waiting in line to become citizens the right way.” Brat said the president’s actions would encourage more children to attempt to illegally enter the U.S.
“In addition, crony insiders will now get the amnesty they lobbied for to provide a cheap supply of labor while millions of Americans remain unemployed,” he said.
A statement Thursday from the House Appropriations Committee indicated that Congress could not use the budget appropriations process to cut funding for the president’s proposed actions through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Brat acknowledged that the agency is self-funded through immigration application fees, but that the appropriations committee voted in August to determine how the agency spends those fees.
The committee said in its statement Thursday that the immigration services agency could continue to collect its fees, operate and expand operations under the president’s new executive order “without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.””…
Comment 2: Speaker Boehner has never allowed a standalone, up or down vote to defund ObamaCare to come to the floor. The GOP E has never wanted to stop ObamaCare. They’ve had the power to do so for 4 years–since Jan. 2011 with the huge majority we gave them in Nov. 2010. House votes to “repeal” ObamaCare, or to defund part or all of it combined with other measures are different and can’t be done by the House alone.