WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Republican on the House Appropriations Committee is attempting to pull the financial plug on the Obama administration's many "czars."
Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia introduced legislation Wednesday that prohibits use of government funds to pay the salaries or expenses of individuals in the new administration that have been appointed by President Obama without the advice and consent of the Senate. The financial prohibition in the "Czar Accountability and Reform Act (CZAR) of 2009" extends to the staffs of the administration's "czars."
The president has named aides or so-called "czars" with responsibility for a number of areas including energy/climate change, health care reform, enforcement of federal drug laws, and the automotive industry.
The White House declined to comment on Kingston's legislation.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that:
[the president] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
"Why won't the President use transparency and have these people come before the Senate and undergo the constitutionally-mandated process?," Kingston asked in a release announcing his amendment to an appropriations bill.
"It seems President Obama is in the midst of forming a parallel government to push his policies," Kingston also said Wednesday. The Georgia Republican added that the positions occupied by Obama's so-called "czars" "duplicate existing Senate-confirmed positions."
Seventeen other House Republicans have joined Kingston in sponsoring the anti-czar bill.
In February, Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia criticized the new administration's use of "czars" to oversee policy in several areas.
"As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president," Byrd wrote in a letter to Obama. "In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."