July 16th, 2009
01:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Republican takes on Obama's 'czars'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.bowalk0716.gi.jpg caption="Some Republicans in the House wants to defund President Obama's 'czars.'"]
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.

Read: Kingston's legislation

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."

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    seems like a good idea....................as I remember, there is something about "checks and balances"????

    July 16, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Peter

    32 czars, that's unbelievable. How much taxpayer's money for those czars? What do they do? What's the accountability for them?

    July 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. katiec

    Oh my. What will they pick on next?
    Will they ever get down to the business of trying to present workable, acceptable, intelligent suggestions to help our country and us?
    The party of no is completely loosing it.

    July 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Candy West Virginia

    The republicans didn't mind spending trillions on an illegal war or on rebuilding Iraq but darnnit they draw the line on anything that will help this country.

    July 16, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. PFFT

    If things were reversed and there was a Republican in the White House rather than the obamanation, then the Dems would love this idea and would be screaming from the rooftops for it to happen. Instead, I'm just waiting for the Dems to start screaming about what a bad idea it is.

    July 16, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Buzz

    Obama is a poor excuse for a president and as an American I am embarrassed...........

    July 16, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Gary

    The Czar positions are unconstitutional and do not have adequate congressial oversight. Those executive positions/power should be done by the cabinet members. What is this Russia? Obama is expanding the role of government too much. We need to impeach Obama before he bankrupts and socializes our country!!! Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Micheal Bloomberg all would have been better choices for president.

    July 16, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Shawn - GA

    Good God I was thinking I was the only one who was concerned with all these Czars.....

    We have zero need for these offices under any administration

    July 16, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Dave

    Or perhaps more importantly, why isn't the Congressman addressing the concerns of the country rather than on a critique of the President?
    And why isn't the senate approving the people who are nominated, and not even voting?

    Let's talk about health care Congressman. How long will the GOP stand in the way of the US joining the first world in caring for the citizenry? Since they can do it, and you say we can't, does that make them better than us in your view? Let's get it done.

    July 16, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    oooooooh – 18 people. Scarey

    July 16, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Randolph Carter

    That's funny. Past presidents dem and repub alike have appointed czars for all types of issues. It's never been a problem until now. Hmmm... I'm sure if the republicans look a little harder they can come up with more things to stall, block and delay. It's like they're not trying hard enough: the entire country hasn't come to a grinding halt. Have a nice day!

    July 16, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. malcom123

    Throw any and everything out there and see if it stick. Darn repubs stop making yourselves look even weaker.

    the repubs are like a herd of blind elephants driving down a steep hill not wondering will they crash and burn but when.

    July 16, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Mike in MN

    The czars are a total waste of tax payers money, especially in these tough economic times. This includes the few czars Bush had. We have a President and his cabinet along with Congress that is enough.
    It is time to get rid of the czars!

    July 16, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. audacity of a dope

    100% Accountability....They are a waste of tax money, but then again so is Obama.

    July 16, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. walleye

    Where were these people during the last 8 years when Bush/Cheney ran amok changing the way govt was run and making their own rules.

    July 16, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Mike

    A couple of these czars are convicted criminals and how many of them are tax cheats? Nothing like transparency by obamby. CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN....

    July 16, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Really!?

    What's a constitution? There is one? What stupid rRepublican trick is this trying to use this against the administration. This is America! He is President. He can do whatever he wants. Oh thats a dictatorship, oops!

    July 16, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I read that crappy legislation and it's just a way for the Party Of No to continue to be the Party Of Obstruction, the Party of Hypocrites, the Party of No Ideas, the Party of .......you get the point!

    July 16, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Are you telling me that the republicans are compaining about a decision, or an action, or any move that President Obama makes?!?!? *GASP! i'M SHOCKED! Shocked I tell you.
    Now, really, at this point, is there anything that Obama does that does not draw criticism from the other side?
    These repuglicans complain about Obama reading from a teleprompter...of course they are going to complain about everything else. It's all they can do

    July 16, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. matt

    As Byrd noted, these czar's are not accountable to anyone but the President. What happens later, if there is some sort of scandal and the czar's are called upon to testify. Does Congress hold any authority to call the czar's to testify? If Congress currently does not have this authority over these positions, then I think the czar's should go through a confirmation process.

    As the Constitution states, Congress can pass legislation that the President can appoint minor positions (not sure of a czar would qualify as a minor position), so this may be a moot point. But, I think it is worth a discussion.

    July 16, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. David

    Good for you Congressman Kingston!

    July 16, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Reality

    I'm sure many Democrats will come on here and speak of important issues such as the accent of the Republican representative or whether he had an affair. But please do us a favor and discuss the issue. I work for the Fed and we are employing many additional people at a very high salary outside of the mainstream gov't. Just for a moment consider if this is a good thing or not before you start the Republican bashing.

    July 16, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Doug, New Jersey

    The biggest problem is that the socialism czar resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    July 16, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Capt. Snarky

    About time someone moves to nip this in the bud............

    July 16, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. js -----santee

    mmmmm....like cheney and all his private appointees, meetings and orders and he wasn't even president.

    July 16, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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