Rep. Cleaver’s Bipartisan Bill to Prevent USCIS Furloughs Passes House of Representatives With Unanimous Support
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 8089, the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, to temporarily prevent the need for furloughs by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by immediately increasing the agency’s premium processing revenues. The legislation was introduced by United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Ranking Member Ken Buck (R-CO), Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), and Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
“Although this is a temporary solution to an immediate crisis, I’m thrilled we were able to garner the unanimous support needed to pass this critical legislation. It will keep over 3,000 Kansas Citians from being furloughed in the coming days and our immigration system operating at full capacity,” said Congressman Cleaver. “I want to thank Chairwoman Lofgren, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Members Fortenberry and Buck, and Representatives Welch and Raskin for their willingness to reach across the aisle and get something done so swiftly, and I’m hopeful the Senate will do the same.”
USCIS is scheduled to furlough 13,355 (or 67%) of its 19,881 employees, including over 2,000 of the 3,100 in the Greater Kansas City Area, on August 30, 2020. If such furloughs are implemented, they will have a devastating impact on the agency’s ability to provide immigration and naturalization services to American businesses and families for many months, if not years, to come.
The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act would allow the agency to halt the immediate furloughs, while providing more reliable and expanded services for premium processing applicants. The fees collected by USCIS may be used to address backlogs and adjudication delays for other applicants.
Since USCIS first announced it would furlough nearly 70% of its workforce in May, Congressman Cleaver has been working vociferously to ensure these workers remain on payroll. In June, Cleaver and Rep. Davids called on the USCIS to put forward a plan demonstrating these jobs would remain should funding be secured. In July, Cleaver and Fortenberry introduced separate legislation that would directly appropriate $1.2 billion in emergency supplemental funding to USCIS through the end of 2020. This month, Cleaver called on Speaker Pelosi and congressional leadership to ensure any coronavirus relief package include language that would keep USCIS operational through the current fiscal year.
The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act will now go to the Senate where Congressman Cleaver hopes they will take up and pass the bill next week.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or Matthew.Helfant@mail.house.gov A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.