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Myth vs. Facts about the CROmnibus

Setting the record straight when it comes to provisions within last month's government spending bill:

Myth: The end-of-year funding (also called the CROmnibus) funded the president’s amnesty initiatives.

Fact:   False. In fact, Congress extended current-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until February 2015 (DHS would be the agency tasked with implementing the president’s unconstitutional immigration action), while funding the remainder of the federal government through September. Republicans won control of the Senate in November, but the reality is that our majority didn’t begin until January.  By extending funding for DHS temporarily, it put us in a stronger position to directly challenge President Obama’s unprecedented power grab.


Myth:  One provision in the bill directly funds the president’s amnesty program: on page 128, under Title II, funding for the Department of Justice Administrative Review and Appeals, the bill provides, “for expenses necessary for the administration of pardon and clemency petitions and immigration-related activities, $351,072,000, of which $4,000,000 shall be derived by transfer from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) fees deposited in the ‘Immigration Examinations Fee’ account.”

Fact:  This provision provides funding for the Department of Justice’s Immigration Courts. These are the courts responsible for processing for removal those who do not have a legal right to be in the United States. This is not new language or new policy—in fact, if you refer to page 48 of the last bill Congress passed to fund the government (for the remainder of FY2014), H.R. 3547, you will see the exact same language providing $315,000,000 in funding for the administration of pardon and clemency petitions and immigration-related activities, of which $4,000,000 shall be derived by transfer from the EOIR fees deposited in the ‘Immigration Examinations Fee’ account. This year’s funding bill provided $36 million in additional funding for FY2015 to hire more immigration judges specifically to address the record-high backlog in the immigration courts, which is the reason why illegal immigrants are remaining in this country for longer periods of time. The $4 million in transfer authority from EOIR is a long-standing policy to share costs in support of the adjudication and removal process. Importantly, this entire provision concerns funding for the Department of Justice, not the Department of Homeland Security (which is the agency through which the president is attempting to carry out his amnesty initiative).  That said, Congress could have added language to the bill banning the use of these fees for those purposes, but then-Majority Leader Harry Reid would have blocked that in the Senate, it never would have reached President Obama’s desk, and it would have led to a shutdown (see more on the shutdown scenario, below). 


Myth:  A second provision in the legislation also provides funding to support the president’s amnesty program: on page 909, the bill provides $737,400,000, to carry out part A of title III of the ESEA, $14 million of which will be available for state educational agencies in states where at least one county where 50 or more unaccompanied children have been released to sponsors since January 1, through the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Fact:  This provision provides support to school districts that have been flooded with an increase in Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs). States are required to provide all children with equal access to a public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their immigration status.  The courts have upheld this requirement, so schools have no choice but to enroll these students until removal proceedings have been completed and they are returned to their home countries. Therefore, this funding is in direct response to districts that have requested assistance and why the funds are targeted toward districts with heavy influxes of UACs.


Myth:  Shutting down the government would have stopped the president’s amnesty initiatives.

Fact:  It would not have. The President’s executive orders would still be carried out even if the CROmnibus had been defeated.  During the last shutdown, 85% of Department of Homeland Security employees were still allowed to work. The president has the power to deem certain employees as “essential,” therefore shutting down the government would not have done anything to stop his amnesty initiatives.


Myth:   The CROmnibus sold out conservative principles.

Fact:   The funding legislation was a conservative win. I do, however, agree with those who had concerns with the process and the short time we had to review the legislation. Relying on enormous spending bills is the wrong way to govern, and has been the Democrats’ preferred approach for too long. I would have preferred to consider each of these bills on their own merits through regular order.  Unfortunately, though the House did most of its work on individual spending bills, they were stymied in then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate. Importantly, about 80% of the CROmnibus was based on these conservative House-passed bills, providing an opportunity – more than simply continuing last year’s funding levels through a government-wide “CR” – to achieve substantive conservative wins.  In fact, we secured numerous conservative wins that haven’t happened in the last 4 years, despite Republicans controlling the House.  

  • No new funding for Obamacare, cuts the Independent Payment Advisory Board (the board created by the ACA that would be recommending any rationing of health care) by $10 million, and prevents taxpayer bailouts of the ACA risk corridor program.  
  • Cuts funding for the EPA by $60 million, reducing staffing to the lowest level since 1989, which may finally put a stop to the EPA’s overreach.
  • Cuts the IRS by $345.6 million, and prohibits it from targeting organizations for scrutiny based on their political beliefs or targeting citizens for exercising their First Amendment Rights.
  • Relieves small businesses from several burdensome regulations stemming from Dodd-Frank
  • Includes provisions further protecting our Second Amendment rights
  • Maintains all existing pro-life provisions

For more information on conservative wins in the bill, visit: /uploadedfiles/fy15omnibus.pdf.  You can also let me know there whether you support the reforms contained in this legislation or not.