Republicans eager to see the “power of the purse” strategy go away on Obama’s executive amnesty got a shock from the Congressional Research Service this week.

Eric Pianin at the Fiscal Times lays out the background: according to House Appropriations committee chair Hal Rogers (R-KY, pictured), the House can’t defund Obama’s executive orders because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services operates on “user fees” and thus “doesn’t depend on appropriate funds approved by Congress.”

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), however, contends that as a matter of fact, the House most definitely does “formally authorize” even fee-based agencies.  Per the CRS, “[a]mounts 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 that agency[.]”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who requested the CRS report, hit the nail on the head in his commentary: “On its face, the suggestion that the White House can implement any unlawful and unconstitutional act so long as it pays for it with assessed fees is just plain wrong.”

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