Use of czars is troubling
Published 5:07 am Wednesday, September 30, 2009
U.S. House of Representatives
My office has been hearing from a number of people throughout the First District regarding the Obama Administration’s increasing use of “czars.”
These special appointments, which include advisors, chairmen of White House boards, special envoys and Cabinet agency deputies, report directly to the president; however, unlike cabinet secretaries, judges, and other presidential appointments, these “czars” completely bypass congressional oversight.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution entrusts the U.S. Senate to provide advice and consent on executive nominations; however, these executive appointments circumvent the normal vetting process required for Senate confirmation.
Like so many of you, I am deeply troubled by this. In my opinion, the president lacks constitutional authority to name these individuals to senior policy-making positions without the nomination and Senate confirmation process.
These high-level advisors have been named with little information as to their qualifications, powers, pay, or accountability. Because these advisors are not subject to congressional oversight, it is hard to determine exactly how many “czars” there are.
It appears there are approximately 34 “czars” currently overseeing a myriad of issues ranging from energy and the environment to diversity and drugs. With salaries up to $172,000 in addition to staff, office, transportation and travel budgets, these “czars” are costing the American taxpayers millions of dollars.
For these reasons, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3226, the Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009, which would prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for any salaries or expenses of these individuals who have been inappropriately appointed to such a position without the advice and consent of the Senate.
Currently, the bill has 113 cosponsors and is before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my Website http://bonner.house.gov.