Appropriations Season About to Begin
Congress returns from a two-week recess this week, with work on twelve appropriations bills set to begin very soon. Last week, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) announced vice chairmen for each of the panel’s subcommittees. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), chair of the Defense Subcommittee, will also serve as vice chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, April 14: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Reducing Unnecessary Duplication in Federal Programs: Billions More Could Be Saved.”
- Tuesday, April 14: The House Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing with Sarah R. Saldaña, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- Wednesday, April 15: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Analyzing Misconduct in Federal Law Enforcement.”
- Wednesday, April 15: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on FY 2016 appropriations with Sarah R. Saldaña, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- Wednesday, April 22: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency will hold a hearing titled “Acquisition Oversight: How Effectively Is DHS [Department of Homeland Security] Safeguarding Taxpayer Dollars?”
- Wednesday, April 22: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications will hold a hearing titled “Strategic Perspectives on the Bioterrorism Threat.”
Executive Branch Activity
Federal Appeals Court Considers Appeals to Immigration Policies
This week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit scheduled two hours of oral arguments to consider a lower court’s injunction blocking implementation of the President’s recently proposed actions on immigration. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen originally issued the injunction in February in a case brought by 26 states against the President’s proposal. The oral arguments, which will take place later this week on April 17, will focus on the merits of Judge Hanen’s original injunction staying implementation of the President’s November 2014 announcement while appeal of the decision works its way through the courts. Experts note that holding a public session in consideration of a stay is extremely rare.
The Fifth Circuit also granted the federal government’s motion for expedited appeal; the briefing schedule in that case is set to run through mid-May, with oral arguments possible in late May or in June.
Last week, a panel of Fifth Circuit Court judges sided with the federal government in a case brought by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and the State of Mississippi against the President’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The panel ruled that the parties did not have legal standing to challenge the policy because the evidence of harm they provided was too speculative. While the decision is technically binding on the case brought by 26 states, that panel could decide that the facts in the latter case can be distinguished and choose not to follow the precedent set by the earlier case.