Would the GOP actually have the will to do this?
If, no, when President Obama issues his executive orders addressing immigration, Republicans are going to be faced with making some decisions about how to address those EOs. One of the ideas recently floated comes from the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and considers involving the House’s “power of the purse”, aka, defunding. The interesting point is that the rescission power rests with the President granted under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. However, Congress has used it in the past (without presidential direction) as Chairman Rogers notes:
The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee pitched GOP colleagues on a plan to rescind funding for targeted programs in the next Congress to respond to President Obama’s planned executive amnesty, throwing a new idea into a ring already full of them.
“Chairman Rogers just got up and said if we pass an omnibus and then the president does this executive amnesty, he said we can rescind it, and we can rescind it with 218 and 51 and we don’t need the president. That’s what he just told me. I’ve never heard that before,” said Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a key conservative lawmaker who has emerged as a leader in crafting strategy on the issue.
The idea startled GOP members who, according to Salmon, hadn’t contemplated the strategy until now. And Rogers had difficulty explaining the idea to a scrum of reporters given that the last time it was used was the 1990s. “I don’t think any of you have ever seen a rescission bill!” Rogers said.
“There’s any number of possibilities including rescission of spending after the fact. One of the difficulties we’re having is we really don’t know what actions he plans to actually take. When Livingston took over as chairman, he proposed and passed rescissions of spending bills that after the fact took away money that had been appropriated for an agency,” Rogers added.
The reason he’s talking about “after the fact” is Congress is currently engaged in trying to pass a huge spending bill and that will likely take priority. Once passed, then it will likely address anything that Obama has directed via EO. Also note that rescission bills are very rare – Congress isn’t about cutting spending or defunding much of anything.
However that are a number of Republicans that don’t even want the spending bill passed until next year:
Many Republicans are pushing to punt significant legislative action, including an omnibus spending bill, until the next Congress, when the GOP will have more leverage and control, given their control of the upper chamber.
Whatever the eventual plan, the next two months should be quite interesting. However, should they pass the spending bill before the next Congress, rescission provides a path for the GOP to cut funding to the programs that Obama targets with his EOs and trigger quite a nasty political battle next year.