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. Linda from Minnesota

    Our country was left in shambles by the previous administration. Whatever President Obama does is met with barrier after barrier by the republicans. After their absolute and utter failure in serving the people of the United States, they need to stop it and let him and his administration fix the mess he was left.

    July 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  2. JD

    Jack Kingston is desperate as are the Republicans in general! Is this the best he can do with the time afforded him to introduce and pass legislation that affects our nation? My gosh, there are so many more relevant and pressing issues out there. This reflects desperation and fear.

    July 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. joe

    They are clearly officers of the executive branch and under the constitution and the supreme courts rulings they must be confirmed by the senate, congress has not vested the power to appoint them to the president so unless they do, they must be confirmed as heads of new departments created by the executive branch. Clear as day, not that it would take them long to do so with 60 votes, so just do it, it would be hard to justify not doing so in violation of the Constitution while at the same time criticizing the prior administration for failing to abide by the procedural requirements of the a Statute. Though it would be interesting to force these individuals to pony up their roles in the collapse of AIG and the like which were driven into the ground by many of these new CZARs.

    July 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. Dave

    Who cares what Kingston thinks? Bush had plenty of these czars during his administration. Somehow, I doubt if Kingston had a problem with this concept back then...

    July 16, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. pat c

    WHY WOULD WE WANT ANOTHER DOG AND PONY SHOW BY THE REPUBLICANS? the sotomoyor case is a joke, all the republicans are doing is flexing muscle and speaking down to this judge as if they have a superiorty about themselves. we don't need more dragging and delays from these jerks or we will never get anything done in washington. president obama is just that...the president and it is HIS decision as to have czars or not. bush never asked for the dems to approve his choices now did he?

    July 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. beejoyus

    Perhaps "czar" and "shadow government" are the wrong terminology. Obama made several campaign promises which he is now pushing to implement. If he does not have administrators who must analyze the various processes, policies and practices that require certain steps the government must take, implementation will be ineffective and the American people will not be served.

    The press has an obligation to scrutinize how the various programs that are currently works in process become operational. To accomplish the government's work and serve the voters, there needs to be subject matter experts in the planning and implementarion of these new programs and policies.

    The country howled, and appropriately so, when Halliburton became the only Iraqi War contractor without the Bush Administration releasing Requess for Quotation from at least three potential contractors.

    July 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Scott, Tucson

    Well Obama did promised to reduce the unemployment rolls and he's doing this by setting up his friends as governmental czars, there's now what some 40 plus czars on the taxpayers dime?

    July 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. TCM

    Under Obama – "Czar = intimidation thug."

    If someone doesn't agree with his radical agenda, then he can use these hand selected henchmen, who buy the way, are costing taxpayers over $15mil yearly in salary, and costs.....to bad mouth both dems and repubs that won't buy into his country crushing agenda....both sides of the aisle should have concern over this;

    July 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Hugo

    Gee, Being that Obama is the master of constitutional law this is kinda of like setting up a web of phony baloney corporations to do your dirty little deeds for you. Hmmmmm, Acorn ring a bell? Side step, side step, side step the House and Senate.....

    July 16, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Vanessa

    So Congressman Kingston, where was your outrage when the Bush Administration hired advisors with new titles without oversight? Where was your outrage when a parallel government, which is becoming more exposed by the day, was in operation under Bush and Cheney?

    You embarrass yourself, sir. Unfortunately, you are my congressman.

    July 16, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Steve, Columbia SC

    Way to go..........now why didn't one of my SC representatives initiate this legislation?

    I am tired of all the "czars" in a time when our spending is out of control.

    July 16, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Michigan Jim

    The Administration is probably taking the "czar" route with so many people because they're tax cheats and couldn't withstand any type of scrutiny.

    July 16, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    In all fairness, presidents in both parties had czars. The problem is the over abundance OF czars in this administration. Czars bypass Congressional oversight! That is the issue! Not a dem or repub issue but a Congressional one!

    July 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Transparency is now seen as a lie. That went the way of 5 days of public comment on bills.

    Those were things to get elected. You didn't really think he would DO it.

    From PolitiFact – specific broken promises so far:
    No. 24: End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000
    No. 234: Allow five days of public comment before signing bills
    No. 240: Tougher rules against revolving door for lobbyists and former officials
    No. 505: Create a $3,000 tax credit for companies that add jobs
    No. 508: Allow penalty-free hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009
    No. 511: Recognize the Armenian genocide
    No. 517: Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN

    July 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Pat F

    Read some history – Obama's Czars are nothing but a power grab. Centralized control of the economy is Obama's goal. Call it socialism, communism, facism – whatever you like. But Obama wants complete economic, social, political and cultural control.

    July 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Ted

    typical Republican attempts at obstructionism. Obama is trying to fix the economy and manage two wars and everything else that the Republicans screwed up. He should be able to run the government without GOP approval for everything.

    July 16, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. MNproud

    As a lifelong Democrat, I am sick of the Chicago Thug way of doing things that Obama is bringing to this country! Every Dem I know regrets our vote and will never support him or anyone that supports his takeover policies again!
    He is trying to cram all his policies down our throats now because he knows he will never get re-elected!

    July 16, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Really

    Finally someone is looking into it. Before all of the Obama supporters whine, think what you would have said if Bush had a handful of Czars that were not nominated through the normal channels.

    July 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Davey

    "It seems President Obama is in the midst of forming a parallel government to push his policies," Kingston also said Wednesday
    That is a VERY strong acusation and a dangerous one. It is one thing to disagree and challenge the issue on the validity according to the Constitution. But to go as far as to say the president is trying to form his own government? This is extreme and show nothing else other than this man trying to be an utter obstructionist.

    July 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Asian4Hillary

    Obama has 36 CZARS now, when is he gonna declare his self TSAR of USA?

    July 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    The Obama regime has found something that they are good at,
    delegating. Creating over 20 'czars', is not the best way to reduce big
    government (one more broken promise). I would happily pay my
    hard earned taxes to provide Obama with a CZAR OF REGIME
    REASSIGMENT TO SIBERIA. Socialism would be better received there.
    But this is America, we will share and share alike, but like my son used to say...'You can't make me'. Let Freedom Ring!!

    July 16, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Sick -n- Tired

    "LOOK OUT EVERYONE"! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! A Republican said so. Run for your lives! What a joke!

    July 16, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Stuffit

    Bravo! Good luck getting it through committee and then through the House. Glad to see Byrd had a lucid moment, I was worried about him.

    In Obama's dictionary, transparent means something you can't see, not something you can see through.

    July 16, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Jim Puber

    It's obvious, isn't it?

    July 16, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Typical Republican

    Yay! This is why I'm a republican...because I want to be an obstructionist and pursue wasteful legislation that stall progress and offers no solutions, and best of all, stops all others from pursuing those solutions as well.

    As a republican, it is our duty to ensure that this country goes NOWHERE but down the drain. And that's why we pursue these senseless acts, spending our time on STOPPING things rather then FIXXING things.

    Proud Republicans, we are the party of "STOP the PROGRESS in CONGRESS...it goes against the "CON" vs "PRO" prefix definitions!"

    All you libtard monkeys can thank us for making sure we go nowhere like we are supposed to!

    July 16, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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