|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 12.1.14
Monday, December 1, 2014 ‚Äď
Immigration ‚Äď An Update
It has been more than a week since President Obama announced his executive actions regarding immigration. I have serious concerns about his actions and their legality. My concerns include whether the President can broadly and unilaterally grant illegal immigrants permission to work.
Further, among the red flags being raised about the President‚Äôs immigration announcement is a recent report by the Washington Times indicating that, under this plan, ‚Äú‚Ä¶businesses will have a $3,000-per-employee incentive to hire illegal immigrants over native-born workers because of a quirk of Obamacare.‚ÄĚ
The President‚Äôs plan, though it declares as many as 5 million illegal immigrants to be eligible for work permits, deems them ineligible for public benefits such as Obamacare. As the Washington Times notes, ‚Äú‚Ä¶that means businesses who hire them won‚Äôt have to pay a penalty for not providing them health coverage ‚ÄĒ making them $3,000 more attractive than a similar native-born worker, whom the business by law would have to cover.‚ÄĚ
According to this same Washington Times report, an anonymous official at the Department of Homeland Security confirmed these immigrants will be unable to access Obamacare, creating this Obamacare employer mandate loophole.
I can‚Äôt help but wonder if the President or his team noticed this conflict ahead of time, or if they failed ‚Äď as usual ‚Äď to notice yet another Obamacare problem in advance.
My office has heard from a number of you concerned about the President‚Äôs executive announcement regarding immigration. The overwhelming majority feel that:
- the President is acting outside of his authority with this executive action;
- this action is unfair to those who have legally immigrated to the United States;
- Congress should look into stripping funding for implementation of the executive action, etc.
But in fairness, I should note that approximately 3% of those contacting us about this have done so to voice their support for the President‚Äôs action.
Discussions regarding President Obama‚Äôs immigration plans and how to most appropriately respond are ongoing. Please know I will be reviewing our options closely, keeping in mind the laws already on the books as well as my responsibility to support and defend the Constitution.
"The Most Expensive Regulation Ever‚ÄĚ
When this Administration or others have controversial and/or bad news to share, they often release it on Friday afternoons or before holidays in an effort to minimize negative attention. This is what is known as a ‚Äėnews dump.‚Äô As an example, you may remember that shortly before Independence Day last year the Obama Administration announced it would be delaying for one year the controversial ‚Äėemployer mandate‚Äô built into Obamacare.
More recently, the day before this last Thanksgiving ‚Äď November 26, 2014 ‚Äď President Obama‚Äôs Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. Yes, this is another line of attack on fossil fuels, particularly coal. This is in addition to new regulations that do not take effect until this summer as well as proposed new regulations currently in the comment period that will impact fossil fuels.
According to POLITICO, these changes ‚Äú‚Ä¶ would lower the amount of ground-level ozone pollution that is considered healthy to breathe, which in turn could lead to costly new requirements for air pollution permits in much of the country.‚ÄĚ
National Association of Manufacturers President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Timmons (who served as a Chief of Staff to Governor and then Senator George Allen) said in response to the EPA‚Äôs announcement: ‚ÄúThis new standard comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs. Before the Obama Administration moves the goalposts with yet another set of requirements that will make it more difficult for manufacturers across the country, they need to allow existing ozone standards to be implemented and give time to American businesses to meet those already stringent and onerous requirements.‚ÄĚ
He also said: ‚ÄúThis new ozone regulation threatens to be the most expensive ever imposed on industry in America.‚ÄĚ
Interestingly, the White House in 2011 (before the 2012 Presidential elections) directed the EPA to withdraw a nearly final version of this rule. The President at the time said he was taking this action in order to ‚Äúunderscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.‚ÄĚ
Seems to me these concerns are no less valid today than they were in 2011.
This is another example of overreaching Obama EPA actions that must be stopped.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office by email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.