[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/25/art.byrd.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Byrd has written a letter to the President."]
(CNN) - One day after his address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama is taking heat from the most senior Democratic senator over the recent appointments of a handful of White House "czars."
Robert Byrd, the Senate pro tempore from West Virginia, said in a letter to the president he is concerned the appointments of new so called 'czars' in the offices of health, urban affairs and climate change are not subject to Senate approval and could therefore shield information from congress under the right of executive privilege.
"Too often, I have seen these lines of authority and responsibility become tangled and blurred, sometimes purposely, to shield information and to obscure the decision-making process," Byrd wrote in the letter.
“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," he continued. "In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability."
Byrd also urged the president to prohibit the right of executive privilege from appointees' in agencies overseen by the Senate.
Byrd, 91, is marking his 50th year in the Senate.