Report: Yes, Congress Can Stop Obama’s Immigration Moves With ‘Power of Purse’

Josh Siegel /

Congress may use its “power of the purse” to block President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigrants, a prominent legislative and policy authority on Capitol Hill concludes.

The new report from the Congressional Research Service says that the House Appropriations Committee was incorrect last week in saying the government agency most responsible for implementing Obama’s action—  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — cannot be defunded by Congress.

The House spending committee reasoned that Citizenship and Immigration Services operates on revenue it generates through immigration applications, so it doesn’t use congressionally appropriated funds to pay for activities such as issuing legalization status and work permits.

>>> Republicans Differ Over ‘Power of Purse’ to Stop Obama Immigration Action

But the Congressional Research Service concludes that Congress still must appropriate the funds received from fees if the money is to be spent lawfully.

The Daily Signal obtained a copy of the report, prepared for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. It says:

Amounts 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 the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the 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.

Still, CRS warns that lawmakers must be precise in the legislative language they use if they decide to prohibit agency spending to carry out the president’s changes to the immigration system.

The report concludes:

The context in which a restriction on funds collected through fees or otherwise made available is enacted will determine which agencies or activities will be subject to that restriction. It is at least a theoretical possibility that a court could find that such a restriction reached activities or agencies that were entirely fee-funded.

Sessions has vowed to use the budget process to fight Obama’s moves to provide legal status for up to 5 million immigrants here illegally, allowing them to stay and obtain work permits.

The current short-term spending measure funding the government expires Dec. 11.

Ferguson Is a Repeat of Past Riots. Can We Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again? - Daily Signal

Ferguson Is a Repeat of Past Riots. Can We Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again?

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood /

We’ve been here before.

The riots in Ferguson, Mo., are the latest set off by racial tensions—but they are certainly not the first.

Decades may have passed, but the Ferguson riots look similar to these past events:

The Watts riots lasted six days, at least 34 people lost their lives, more than 3,000 people were arrested and there was an estimated $40 million in property damage. Almost 30 years later, the 1992 riots in Los Angeles resulted in 53 people being killed and an estimated $1 billion in property damage. The 1968 riots in Washington also lasted six days, resulting in 12 deaths, over 6,000 arrests, more than 1,000 buildings being burned and approximately $175 million in property damage by today’s standards.

I live in the very neighborhood destroyed by the 1968 riots. What was once considered the “Harlem of DC”—an area regularly featuring artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, home to hundreds of black-owned businesses and less than two miles from the White House—was literally turned to rubble in a matter of days.

Today, it is considered one of the city’s most booming real estate markets—but that took over 30 years to happen, and its original residents and businesses are long gone.

This photo was taken at the corner of 7th and N Streets NW, in Washington, about 8 blocks east and south from where I live today. (Photo: Wikimedia)

This photo was taken at the corner of 7th and N Streets NW, in Washington, about 8 blocks east and south from where I live today. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Here we are again today in Ferguson. Though each incident has its own set of circumstances and occurred at a particular point in history, and was shaped by the culture and atmosphere of the time, they all share a similar foundation based on racial tension and a sense by those participating in the riots that justice is out of reach.

Without question the looting, property damage and violence is unacceptable. Everyone watching is right to question the point of it all and be both disgusted and saddened by the destruction and mayhem they see night after night on TV.

Yet, one of the the most tragic aspects of all is that so many of the politicians and self-appointed civil rights leaders calling for justice are themselves proponents of policies that oppress and keep down the very people they claim to be defending. These policies breed a victimhood mentality that sometimes plays itself out, wrongly, in the kind of behavior we’re seeing in Ferguson.

The truth is, as President Obama said in his remarks the night of the verdict, we have come a long way in terms of race relations, as his own election shows. But what could not have been clearer as one watched the split screen of the president speaking from the White House, juxtaposed with pictures showing the rioting in Ferguson, was that many blacks there and elsewhere don’t believe they have the same opportunities Obama has had.

And many don’t—due in large part to some of the policies he and others on the left support.

The oft-chanted slogan “No Justice, No Peace” reflects only one part of the story.

There is no justice in trapping children in poor-performing public schools. Yet instead of supporting school choice measures that would benefit those in lower-income and urban areas the most, the left says no.

There is no justice in supporting government welfare programs that make it easier and more profitable to sit home than work, that discourage marriage and encourage single parenting—thereby destroying one of the most important foundations of any community, stable families—yet liberal public policies have and continue to do these very things.

Those rioting in Ferguson, as before in Watts and Washington in the 1960s, aren’t just upset about what they see as an unfair criminal justice system. That may be the spark that sets off the fire, but simmering underneath is a lack of hope that life can be better and a belief that the opportunities of America belong to them, too.

There will always be people who are looking for an excuse to cause trouble. Feeling disenfranchised gives no one the right to riot. But unless all those who say they want to bring healing are willing to address the day-to-day injustices, not just the made-for-television run-ins with the police, we’ll be here again.

 

Hong Kong Police Dismantle Protest Site - Daily Signal

Hong Kong Police Dismantle Protest Site

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez /

With the world no longer looking in so intently, police in Hong Kong overnight swept in and cleared one of the largest protest spots in the financial hub, arresting top leaders. But U.S. congressmen already riled up about China reneging on promises of democracy to the city may not be as forgiving as Beijing’s men in Hong Kong hope.

The site cleared was in Mong Kok, a working class area where Beijing-controlled mafia groups known as Triads have violently attacked the peaceful protesters in the past two months. Among those arrested were student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum, 17 and 21 respectively.

Demonstrations by students began in September after China issued a strict interpretation of “universal suffrage” for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017.

Before Britain handed the former British colony to communist-ruled China in 1997, Chinese leaders promised Britain, Hong Kong and the world that China would allow the city to have “a high degree of autonomy” and “universal suffrage.” But earlier this year China said that Hong Kongers could vote for their leader, but only among two or three candidates chosen by a Beijing-controlled committee.

To Congressional leaders who held a hearing last week, this was unacceptable.

“Hong Kong is a test of China’s willingness to comply with its international commitments,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China at a hearing on Nov. 20. “If China can so easily renege on its promises to Hong Kong, then how can we expect China to hold up its end of the bargain on issues like World Trade Organization compliance or future trade agreements?”

Worse for China and its appointed government in Hong Kong, the feeling against China on this is bipartisan, a Washington rarity. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., concurred: “The future of Hong Kong’s democracy is truly an international concern.”

“Instead of keeping these promises, Beijing has decided to stack the desk against democracy and the rule of law,” said Smith. “Hong Kong’s continued autonomy and the advance of its democracy is a concern of the U.S. Congress and of freedom-loving peoples everywhere.”

A bipartisan and bicameral group of congressmen have introduced legislation called the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.” The bill amends the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act by reinstituting the requirement that Congress report to the president on Hong Kong’s democratization on an annual basis—a clause that lapsed in 2007. It also requires the president to certify that Hong Kong has achieved sufficient autonomy before the U.S. undertakes any law or treaty that treat Hong Kong differently from the rest of China.

Hong Kong benefits greatly from the separate treatment it is accorded by the U.S., which waives export controls on high-tech products that it denies Mainland China.

It is unlikely that the Hong Kong police’s actions will do anything but expedite this bill.

Mark Levin’s Facebook Post Saying Michael Brown Was Responsible for His Own Death Goes Viral - Daily Signal

Mark Levin’s Facebook Post Saying Michael Brown Was Responsible for His Own Death Goes Viral

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness /

Conservative commentator and radio show host Mark Levin didn’t sugarcoat his reaction to the riots that broke out after the grand jury’s decision not to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo.

>>> Disbelief as New York Times Publishes Address of Ferguson Police Officer

“Brown was shot because he assaulted a police officer, attempted to take the officer’s pistol resulting in two close-range gun shots in the police cruiser, and then turned around and charged the officer as he was being pursued,” the mercurial Levin wrote yesterday on his Facebook page.

>>> Here’s How Americans Responded the Morning After #FergusonDecision, in 35 Tweets

Levin’s post, which is going viral, calls the the violent reaction to the no-indict decision “the Left’s war on the civil society.”

Read the full post below.

 

Why I Don’t Mind Working Retail Thanksgiving Day - Daily Signal

Why I Don’t Mind Working Retail Thanksgiving Day

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman /

This year, as I have for the past eight years, I will be working on Thanksgiving Day.  I work retail, and we have this thing called “Black Friday” or some such named event, depending on the store.

For the last two or three years, people have been complaining about Black Friday starting earlier and earlier and claim to feel badly for poor oppressed retail workers who have to work on Thanksgiving Day rather than spend it with their families.

>>> Those Thanksgiving Sales Don’t Even Really Save You Much. So Why Are You Asking Me to Work?

So here’s my take, as an actual retail employee who does work on Thanksgiving.

I choose to work retail. No one has a gun to my head. I am not in “forced labor.”

When I first started Black Friday actually started on Friday at 5 a.m. In order to get the store prepared, there was a crew of us at the store at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Just so that all shoppers are aware, the “magic” of Black Friday does not happen all by itself.

What I don’t understand is why retail workers are the only ones whose work on Thanksgiving causes such ire. I never hear about the poor soldiers all over the world and in America having to work and miss the day with their families, nor do I hear about the police (I worked for Los Angeles county sheriff’s as a civilian for 17 years and was on call), doctor or nurses (trust me, when our son Todd was admitted to the hospital during Thanksgiving week as an infant, we were sure glad it was open on Thanksgiving), or those who work at restaurants and fast food establishments as well as theaters.

Last year I worked Thanksgiving, and we had Thanksgiving on the day after.  This year, my wife and son will celebrate Thanksgiving at the assisted living place that my in-laws live, and, by the way, no one is protesting that the staff there is having to work on Thanksgiving.

My personal feeling is that all the fuss about this is orchestrated by unions who are dying on the vine in the private sector and, frankly, need revenue.  I recommend you “follow the money” and take Wal-Mart as an example. If unions were able to unionize Wal-Mart, it would create a financial windfall in the lucky union’s bottom line. The same would happen if any other large national retail company or fast food business was unionized.

Photo: Newscom

Photo: Newscom

This outrage about people working Thanksgiving isn’t about the poor down trodden worker. Instead, it’s a ploy by unions hoping to spur unionization—and pocket a great windfall.

Don’t feel bad that I have to work Thursday. I don’t.

If you don’t like businesses that start Black Friday early, don’t shop there.  But let everyone else.  One of the differences between liberals and conservatives is that when conservatives don’t like something we don’t shop there. Liberals, on the other hand, aren’t content with that. They want to make it so that no one can shop there.

Those Thanksgiving Sales Don’t Even Really Save You Much. So Why Are You Asking Me to Work? - Daily Signal

Those Thanksgiving Sales Don’t Even Really Save You Much. So Why Are You Asking Me to Work?

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman / Christopher Anderson /

Shopping on Black Friday is completely unnecessary

I’ll say it again: shopping on Black Friday is completely unnecessary. The deals you think you’re getting on this one magical day can be obtained in other days if you shop smartly in the time leading up to the Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever holiday you celebrate.

>>> Why I Don’t Mind Working Retail Thanksgiving Day

My opinion comes from working six years in retail, all in management. Four of those years were in a big box retailer, while the other two were in a medium sized specialty shop.

When a Black Friday ad comes out, it has about thirty to fifty items that are marked at attention-getting prices. However, if you look at those same exact items throughout the year, you may find them at the same price. Sometimes even lower.

And while your attention is focused on those lower prices, you’re not seeing that the other “must haves” on everyone’s shopping lists are actually more expensive than usual, causing you to break even—not save.

So think about that—and ask why you’re pushing to extend Black Friday to include Thanksgiving—or as I call it, Miserable Thursday–as well.

On Miserable Thursday, employees have to cancel plans of spending time with family so that they can come and open the store so you can come and get some of those “savings.”

People line up to be the first into Target for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. (Photo: DJLicious/Creative Commons)

People line up to be the first into Target for Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. (Photo: DJLicious/Creative Commons)

Last year, our specialty store was open on Thanksgiving from 6 p.m. to midnight. As store manager I had to arrive before 5, complete final prep, let employees in and prepare the store for opening.

Madness ensued at 6 and lasted until midnight. The last customers were out of the store around 12:30 a.m. Did I get to leave then? Nope, and neither did my employees, as we had to make the store presentable for the next morning when we opened at 6 a.m.

We also had to change price signs, take down sale signs no longer in effect, etc. All so that customers could save the few percentage points that were also available all year long. I left at 1:30—and arrived back at the store around 5 the next morning.

Happy Thanksgiving to me.

“But the employees get holiday pay!” Nope, not always. Only one person on our payroll receives holiday pay and it’s not me. Nor is it the hard working employees working just over minimum wage. Nor did we receive bonuses, even though our store performed above expectations.

My recommendation for customers: start planning your holiday shopping ahead. Watch for savings throughout the year. Look at online retailers like EBay and Amazon. Better deals can be obtained if you just shopped smarter: you don’t need to force stores to be open on Thanksgiving day.

It’s time for customers to wise up and realize that the torture they put on themselves and store employees is not worth it. It’s completely unnecessary.

Disbelief as New York Times Publishes Details on Where Newlywed Ferguson Officer Lives - Daily Signal

Disbelief as New York Times Publishes Details on Where Newlywed Ferguson Officer Lives

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman / Christopher Anderson / Melissa Quinn /

Angering fellow journalists and the public alike, The New York Times published details on the residence of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whom a grand jury declined to indict for the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The newspaper posted an article Monday on Wilson’s marriage to a fellow Ferguson police officer, Barbara Spradling. Near the end, the article by reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson specified the street and city where the newlyweds reside.

“Officer Wilson and Officer Spradling own a home together on _______ in _________, Mo., a St. Louis suburb about a __-hour drive from Ferguson,” the article read.

The Daily Signal has removed the street, city and number of hours from the text.

Why would #nytimes @nytimes Reporters: Julie Bosman & Campell Robertson post D Wilson’s home address? To hurt him. pic.twitter.com/UYne2FTe1J

— Texas Aggie (@usmc130) November 26, 2014

When readers concerned for Wilson’s safety expressed outrage toward the Times’ decision to include the information, the newspaper issued a correction:

An earlier version of this post included a photograph that contained information that should not have been made public. The image has been removed.

>>> Is Ferguson Really About Race?

The unedited photo was of the couple’s marriage license.

“The story mentions only the name of the street where the couple have a house and that street has been widely reported on,” Eileen Murphy, the newspaper’s vice president of communications, said in a statement to The Washington Examiner. The Times referred The Daily Signal to the same statement.

 On Twitter and other social media, some Americans shared what they said were the home addresses of the two reporters whose bylines were on the Times article. Others decried this as just as wrong.

Previous reports of the street name, from The Washington Post and CNN, occurred before the grand jury decided not to indict the six-year veteran. 

It’s wrong to publish @juliebosman‘s address, the way she published Darren Wilson’s address. I hope those people are fired by the @NYTimes.

— Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) November 26, 2014

The New York Times’ decision to publish Wilson’s address angered colleagues in the news media, where there is a long tradition of shielding crime victims and those not charged with crimes from possible harm.

Longtime media critic Howard Kurtz, host of the Fox News show “MediaBuzz” and former media reporter at The Washington Post, called the move “reckless” and said the newspaper should apologize. Kurtz wrote:

Given the racial animosity unleashed by Brown’s death, given the rioting and the looting and the stores that were set afire, how can a news organization make it easier for some crazy zealot to track down Wilson?

Fox News host and commentator Sean Hannity also weighed in.

“If anything happens to that man, his family or that home, the culpability is with them,” Hannity said of Times editors.

Protests in Ferguson turned violent, including arson and looting, after the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson was announced Monday evening.

Ken McIntyre, news director of The Daily Signal, contributed to this report.

>>> 57 Raw Images of the Ferguson Protests Across the Nation

Obama: ‘No Sympathy’ for Those Resorting to Violence Over Ferguson - Daily Signal

Obama: ‘No Sympathy’ for Those Resorting to Violence Over Ferguson

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman / Christopher Anderson / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn /

President Obama last evening appeared to toughen his stance against rioting and looting in the wake of Monday’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., saying he has “no sympathy” for such violence.

“I’ve never seen a civil rights law or a health care bill or an immigration bill result because a car got burned,” Obama said in Chicago, in what appeared to be an aside from prepared remarks.

Instead, the president said, protesters should mobilize and organize to bring about change peacefully and constructively. His comments drew kudos from some conservative commentators, among them Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer.

Obama departed from remarks on immigration to talk about the looting, arson and gunshots that occurred after the announcement that the grand jury would not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18.

>>> Watch:  Is Ferguson Really About Race?

 

EPA Proposes Extreme Air Quality Standards - Daily Signal

EPA Proposes Extreme Air Quality Standards

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman / Christopher Anderson / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn / Daren Bakst / Katie Tubb /

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just released its proposed new standard on ground-level ozone, which is a component of smog. Every five years, the EPA is required by law to review and, if appropriate, revise these standards. In 2008, the EPA issued an ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb). The new standard proposed by the EPA would decrease that level to 65–70 ppb, though the EPA is still openly considering an even lower standard of 60 ppb. The EPA will use every reason under the sun to explain why this new standard is necessary for public health and safety. But here are a few things to keep in mind as the nation begins to discuss what such a standard could mean.

The National Association of Manufacturers has said a 60 ppb standard would be the costliest regulation in U.S. history. According to a NERA Economic Consulting study conducted for NAM, a 60 ppb standard would:

Congress should not fund the implementation of any new ozone standard and should review the air quality process to protect the health and well-being of Americans. Congress, not this unelected and unaccountable agency, needs to make the decision regarding standards that could have such a devastating impact on the economy.

How the Presidential Turkey Pardon Became a White House Tradition - Daily Signal

How the Presidential Turkey Pardon Became a White House Tradition

Josh Siegel / Genevieve Wood / Mike Gonzalez / Kelsey Harkness / Tom Thurman / Christopher Anderson / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn / Daren Bakst / Katie Tubb / Kelsey Harris /

“Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy. He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”

These are the words that officially saved two turkeys in 1989 when President George H.W. Bush began the “presidential turkey pardon” tradition. Although turkeys have been presented to presidents in front cameras since the 1940s, it wasn’t until Bush’s presidential pardon that the tradition stuck.

Here’s a peek into those treasured turkey photo-ops and pardons.

President George H. W. Bush formally pardons the turkey for the first time in 1989. (Photo: George Bush Presidential Library/)

President George H.W. Bush formally pardons the turkey for the first time in 1989. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

Presentation of a Thanksgiving turkey to John F. Kennedy in 1963.  (Photo: Archives/Kennedy Presidential Library)

Presentation of a Thanksgiving turkey to President John F. Kennedy in 1963. (Photo: Archives/Kennedy Presidential Library)

President Bill Clinton eyes the 1998 National Thanksgiving Day Turkey. (Photo: Pete Souza/Newscom)

President Bill Clinton eyes the 1998 National Thanksgiving Day Turkey. (Photo: Pete Souza/Newscom)

President Reagan receives the Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation in 1981. (Photo: Archives/Reagan Presidential Library)

President Ronald Reagan receives the Thanksgiving turkey from the National Turkey Federation in 1981. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

Gerald R. Ford is presented with a Thanksgiving turkey by the National Turkey Federation in 1975. (Photo:  Ford Presidential Library)

President Gerald R. Ford is presented with a Thanksgiving turkey by the National Turkey Federation in 1975. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

President Richard Nixon receives a Thanksgiving Turkey a ritual started by Harry Truman in the 1940s. (Photo: Newscom)

President Richard Nixon receives a Thanksgiving turkey, a ritual started by Harry Truman in the 1940s. (Photo: Newscom)

President George W. Bush pets Flyer the turkey in 2006. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Newscom)

President George W. Bush pets “Flyer” the turkey in 2006. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Newscom)

President Barack Obama pardons a turkey named "Courage" as daughter Sasha looks on. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Obama pardons a turkey named “Courage” as daughter Sasha looks on. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Jimmy Carter's daughters, Rosalynn Carter and Amy Carter,  pardon the turkey in 1978. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

President Jimmy Carter’s daughters, Rosalynn Carter and Amy Carter, pardon the turkey in 1978. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower receives a 43-pound turkey from Perry Browning of Winchester, Ky., president of the National Turkey Federation. Eisenhower holds the book, 'Turkey Management,' which was also presented. (Photo: Archives/Eisenhower Presidential Library)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower receives a 43-pound turkey from Perry Browning of Winchester, Ky., president of the National Turkey Federation. Eisenhower holds the book, “Turkey Management,” which was also presented. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

Photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt carving the Thanksgiving turkey. November 20, 1933. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

Photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt carving the Thanksgiving turkey. Nov. 20, 1933. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

President Harry Truman in 1949. Truman sometimes indicated to reporters that the turkeys he received were destined for the family dinner table. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)

President Harry Truman in 1949. Truman sometimes indicated to reporters that the turkeys he received were destined for the family dinner table. (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Presidential Libraries)