Friday, October 15, 2010

GOP planning an end to Czarist control of government

image The Daily Caller has a story describing how Republicans would exercise much more control over the Czarist regime running the White House. You can call this “playing to the base,” because news like this is red meat to Constitutional conservatives. 

The Obama regime has taken several steps in the last two years to circumvent Congress’ unwillingness to act on certain parts of the progressive agenda, including cap and trade, net neutrality and amnesty for illegal aliens.  Not specifically mentioned in this story is Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sundstein, a dangerous leftist who should be kept far, far away from any executive power.


Since taking office, Obama has named more than 30 czars (though the exact number is hard to pin down) without Senate confirmation and congressional oversight, and together they hold power over everything from the environment and bank bailouts to the auto industry. The president’s practice of naming czars has garnered criticism from members of his own party, such as the late West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd, who called it unconstitutional.

“When the Republicans are in charge, you will see the oversight subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee active on a whole host of fronts,” said Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, who likely would chair the subcommittee if the Republicans take control of Congress. “How are these [czars] funded? So whether it be the authorizing committees and appropriations committees in terms of deleting the funds for those, I think you could go after it in one of two different ways.

“It is time to hold them accountable for what they are trying to promulgate with rules and regulations.”

The relevant congressional oversight committees have not exercised close oversight over the czars and other administration regulatory efforts during the last two years, but Upton plans to change that in January by regularly subpoenaing administration officials.

The regime and its defenders trot out the talking point that it was Ronald Reagan who started the whole “czar” thing, and that’s historically accurate if you use the term “czar” to describe an outside-the-cabinet executive appointment.  But what they conveniently forget to remind folks is that Robert Bennett, appointed as “Drug Czar” by Reagan in 1982, was confirmed by the Senate under its constitutional “advice and consent” authority.  Bennett was the only such appointment during Reagan’s two terms.  And, Franklin Roosevelt made 11 such appointments.

George W. Bush upped the ante by appointing an estimated 32 czars, but that number is in dispute, since existing federal statute required many such appointments.  Bush was merely complying with the law, as the argument goes.

Obama has upped the ante even farther.  The Daily Caller estimates 38 appointees holding the title of czar.  This Wiki page pegs it at 39.  Bush’s list of “czars” as mentioned in the legacy media included three OMB Directors, two DHS secretaries and Directors of National Intelligence.  Not really czars at all.

Obama’s czars include a climate czar, a green jobs czar, a communications czar, an executive pay czar, an Asian Carp czar…  even a Czar Czar.

Enough, already.

Czarism in the Executive Branch doesn’t just need oversight.  It needs to come under control.  If Congress doesn’t create the position, then the Executive Branch should not be allowed to make an appointment.  If Congress doesn’t appropriate the funds, then the office should not be allowed to spend a nickel, nor should the appointee draw one red cent in compensation.

Czarism, in its current incarnation, is a serious usurpation of power by the Executive Branch.


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