I just spent the last half hour or so on the phone with Rep. Pete Sessions. I am glad to know that Pete respects me, my blog and my work enough to personally call me and explain exactly what is going on with the folks in Foggy Bottom.
It would appear that Pete STILL has enemies that are twisting his words and doing everything they can to polish their own tiara for a future run at a seat in Congress.
While Pete and I we talking on the phone his Press Secretary, Caroline Boothe sent me the following which is exactly what Pete and I were discussing. I know one thing; I personally need to talk with Pete Sessions a lot more and I need more information from his office and not the media attention that his detractors seem to be garnering.
Here is the letter that the Congressman sent regarding Obama’s executive actions as well as the CRS reports he referred to on the phone. Please call me if you need anything else, my cell phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Best, Caroline Boothe
Thank you for contacting me regarding your views on government funding and President Obama’s recent executive actions concerning immigration. I appreciate you taking the time to share with me your thoughts and concerns on these important issues. This letter is being sent on December 9, 2014, in anticipation of Thursday’s funding deadline. It is important to note that eight newly elected Republican Senators will be sworn into office in early January giving Republicans control of both legislative chambers for the first time since President Obama was sworn into office.
As you may know, unless Congress appropriates and the President signs a funding bill package by 11:59 pm Thursday night, December 11th, the United States government will shutdown as required by the funding gap stipulations in the Anti-Deficiency Act and the United States Constitution. In order to avert a government shutdown, the House of Representatives is currently considering a legislative package known as an omnibus spending bill. This legislation would combine the smaller, specific bills that appropriate money to federal government departments, agencies, and programs into a single, consolidated spending bill. Congress frequently uses omnibus bills to fund the federal government – in fact, it has enacted twenty different omnibus spending bills for seventeen different fiscal years dating back to fiscal year (FY) 1986.
For FY 2015 the House is considering an omnibus spending bill that would provide funding for eleven of the traditional twelve separate appropriations bills in order to fund almost all of the government through September 2015. The only agency that would not be appropriated funds through September would be the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is the cabinet department that includes both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. DHS would receive funding equivalent to what the department received in FY 2014 only through February 2015, when Republicans will have majority control of the Senate and should have increased leverage to counteract President Obama’s unilateral executive action. The omnibus will have little to no effect on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is also under the jurisdiction of the DHS, as the agency is almost entirely funded through the collection of user fees subject to permanent, not annual, appropriation.
In light of the spending package the House of Representatives is currently considering, there have been a number of ideas put forward to attempt to withhold funding for USCIS and President Obama’s executive action. In particular, one plan proposes placing restrictions on the potential use of fees collected by an agency. In a report for Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a nonpartisan research and public policy agency within the Library of Congress found that, “the funds available to [an] 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”. (See Enclosure A) However, in a specific follow up report (See Enclosure B) that I requested on the USCIS Immigration Examinations Fee Account, CRS found that current law provides USCIS permanent, indefinite authority to use fees collected for immigration adjudication and naturalization services. Furthermore, CRS found that only an enactment of law, legislation that passes both the House and the current Senate that is then signed by the President, could alter these existing provisions. In other words, the only way to restrict funding for USCIS, and specifically the plans outlined in President Obama’s immigration executive action, is to pass a law through the Democrat controlled Senate prohibiting the use of USCIS fees for immigration and naturalization services. Without a change in the law, fees will continue to self-fund the activities of USCIS, which would include funding the president’s executive action. By only funding DHS through February 2015, Congress will be able to readdress this issue when both the House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans.
I strongly support the rule of law and adamantly oppose any action taken by the president to once again circumvent Congress to execute his agenda. While the president is for amnesty and supports providing legal citizenship and the rights that come with that citizenship to those who have knowingly broken our nation’s laws, I am committed to our Constitution and the enforcement of the law.
As your Congressman, I remain firmly opposed to illegal immigration, President Obama’s amnesty and other rewards for those who have intentionally and knowingly broken our nation’s immigration laws, as well as any other unilateral effort by the president to defer his law enforcement duties. Our broken immigration system needs to be fixed, but it must be fixed by Congress so that the American people have a legitimate say in the direction we are heading. I support an immigration plan that is straightforward, concise, thorough, enforcement-first, in the best interest of American citizens, and emphasizes the rule of law. Additionally, key provisions of any immigration reform plan must first and foremost secure our borders, strengthen interior enforcement, prosecute and deport criminal aliens in the United States, establish a true guest worker program, and safeguard our nation’s social programs.
Ultimately, President Obama has turned a deaf ear to the people that he was elected, and I was elected, to serve. In the days and weeks ahead, my colleagues and I will continue to explore effective legislative and judicial ways to adequately respond to the president and his executive actions.
Thank you again for engaging me on this important issue. I will be sending further correspondence on these important issues in the days ahead. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 202.225.2231 or by email at [email protected] Please also note, as a matter of transparency and openness, I have enclosed for your review the full CRS reports cited in the above letter.
 “Restrictions on Federal Funds Collected Through Fees or Otherwise Made Available.” Nov. 21, 2014. U.S. Congressional Research Service. Dec. 9, 2014.
 “Budget Process Considerations Associated with the Immigration Examinations Fee Account, 8 U.S.C. 1356(m) and (n).” Dec. 8, 2014. Congressional Research Service. Dec. 9, 2014.
Press Secretary | Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32)
2233 Rayburn House Office Building | Washington, D.C. 20515-4332
So, I am taking Pete at his word and hoping that his years in Congress, and all of the lessons he’s learned regarding his craft will help pull this nation together as we strive to get America back on the course of RIGHT!