New House GOP plan: Nearly one year of funding for the entire government -- except on immigration

Why not protest Obama’s amnesty power grab by just shutting down the government instead? C’mon, you know why.


Even Republicans are relatively sour on the idea. So, plan B: Make the public happy by funding the government for 10 more months — except for the one part charged with carrying out his amnesty order.

The likely proposal would fund nearly the entire government through September 2015, but immigration enforcement related funding would be renewed on a short-term basis, according to several high-ranking GOP lawmakers and aides who described the plan as it stands now…

The short-term portion would most likely expire sometime in the first quarter of 2015, sources said. The delay would give Republican leaders more options to counter Obama’s executive order without inducing a government shutdown…

There are lots of [additional] ideas: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has signaled he would hold up some of Obama’s executive branch nominees, others privately have been musing about shutting the government down, refusing to invite the president to give his State of the Union address or censuring the president. Many in congressional leadership think these ideas are nonsensical, since it will not serve any practical purpose.

I can understand dismissing those last two ideas nonstarters but what’s wrong with Cruz’s idea of blocking presidential nominees until His Majesty starts showing more respect for separation of powers? As I recall, Chuck Hagel said at yesterday’s firing “resignation” press conference that he’d stay on as SecDef until his successor is confirmed. Great! He can serve out the next two years and Obama can’t complain because, after all, Hagel was his handpicked guy 18 months ago. If he doesn’t like that, he can either admit that he made a poor choice and needs a new defense chief or he can rescind that amnesty order and see the nomination bottleneck relax. What does it matter at this point who leads the Pentagon anyway? The big takeaway from the dozen or so pieces I read yesterday about Hagel getting axed was that Obama’s hyper-insular White House calls all the shots on national security policy. If all they want at Defense is a figurehead who won’t give them trouble as they find a way forward against ISIS, no problem. They’ve already got that now.

Anyway. The House GOP plan is being called the “CROmnibus,” a combination of a short-term Continuing Resolution on immigration and an omnibus spending bill for the rest of the government. If it works as designed, the money for immigration enforcement will run out in the spring, forcing Obama to either make a deal on his executive amnesty then or figure out some way to pay for its implementation that doesn’t involve dipping into Congress’s purse. In theory, Obama could veto the omnibus part of the bill next month precisely because it doesn’t include funding for immigration; “fund my amnesty too for 10 months,” he might say, “or I’m not signing anything.” Would he be willing to make that move, though, given the risk that voters might hold him responsible for the ensuing shutdown, rather than the GOP? It’d be one thing if he was playing hardball with Republicans over a crisis they precipitated. Instead he’d be playing hardball over a highly dubious and probably unconstitutional measure to legalize illegals. He provoked this crisis; now he’s going to double down by shutting down the government to get his way? Very risky.

Help me out with something, though, budget wonks: Politico notes that while some Republicans want to halt funding for U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services, that’s not a matter of congressional appropriations. Employees in that department are paid based on the fees it collects. A few weeks ago, though, a staffer on the Senate Budget Committee assured me that the money to pay the salaries of people processing new DACA applications could be cut off. Which is it? How effective can Congress’s attempt to defund immigration enforcement be? Is it a simple matter of there being money for federal employees to hand out new work permits to illegals but no money to produce those work permits in the first place?