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unseen1 @unseen1_unseen
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1. For those wondering how the Omnibus can direct funding yet give the President "wiggle room" on how to spend the money, let's take a look at the E-verify program as an example.
2. In the omnibus bill Congress gives the U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES $131,513,000 for the E-verify program. (pg 690)
3. That amount is further broken down into two pools. The first pool is for:
For necessary expenses of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for operations and support of the E-Verify Program, $108,856,000
4. This will pay for support and operations (salaries, day to day expenses, etc)
5. The omnibus then directs $22.657,000 of the 131,513,000 for: Necessary expenses of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for procurement, construction, and improvements of the E-Verify Program, $22,657,000, to remain available until September 30, 2020.
6. These funds will be used for new equipment, expansion, new office space etc.
7. So Congress has directed funding and how that funding is allocated to the department of the U.S. CITIZENSHIP and IMMIGRATION SERVICES department. (USCIS)
8. Neither Trump nor his admin can change that amount. It's the sum total that is available to the USCIS. They now have 108,856,000 funding level that can only be spent on operations/support and $22,657,000 that can only be spent on procurement,construction and improvements.
9. Thus, Congress controls the purse strings. However, that is all Congress told the President and the department head. The admin can then decide how best to allocate those resources within that framework.
10. These decisions are the "wiggle room" a POTUS and his admin gets to direct spending how THEY think is best.
11. Of course the spending will be tracked and the agency head will have to explain to Congress how he/she spent the money AFTER they spent it. If Congress doesn't like it they can withhold future funds or direct the spending differently in the next bill or in a supplemental.
12. The chances of a supplemental are slim unless it's attached to a must pass bill. Thus, you have Congress controlling the big picture top line funding of the departments but the POTUS controlling and directing the day to day priorities of the department.
13. While in theory Congress can control where every $ is spent and how it is spent, in practice it's impossible.
14. Congress becomes defacto REACTIONARY IRT spending while the POTUS becomes the decision maker on how the money is spent. Hence the "wiggle room" for all Presidents. This by the way can is the same for all departments including DHS, DOD etc...
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