House Votes to Dethrone Obama’s Czars

Friday, 18 Feb 2011 01:37 PM

By David A. Patten

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The architect of a daring GOP attempt to strip congressional funding for nine executive branch “czars” says it’s only the first salvo in a much larger battle to reverse “radical policies” promulgated by the Obama administration.

“Under President Obama, we’ve seen a proliferation of czars,” Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., told Newsmax the day after the House passed his amendment to block spending any federal funds on nine czars, or “special presidential advisers.”

“These czars are implementing radical policies,” Scalise told Newsmax in the exclusive interview Friday. “They circumvented the accountability and scrutiny that goes with Senate confirmation, and that’s called for in the Constitution.”

bill, defund, obama, czars
                            Scalise
“So if the president really wants to get into this debate, why doesn’t he just bring these czars in front of Senate confirmation and have them go through the normal process, if they’re going to be implementing that kind of cabinet-level power?” he said.

The czars — special appointees who in many cases answer directly to President Barack Obama and the White House chief of staff — have been a source of controversy since the early months of the administration.

Editor's note: Get Newsmax's Special Report on Obama's Czars, unelected but too powerful — Click here now.

Republicans complain that they violate President Obama’s campaign pledge for transparency, and the budgets and activities of the president’s special advisers remain shrouded in mystery.

Scalise told Newsmax that Congress even has had difficulty determining the number of czars in the administration and their budgets, blaming a “veil and the secrecy that’s been involved in their creation” for the lack of information.

Scalise’s amendment to the continuing resolution funding government operations simply identifies the nine czars and orders that no money in the continuing resolution would go to pay for them or their staffs.

In part, the number of czars depends on how they are defined. In a December 2009 expose, Newsmax magazine identified 36 special advisers in the administration. Many previous presidents have used czars, but both their number and authority appears greater under Obama.

According to Scalise, the amendment that passed Thursday is intended to address those czars that Republicans believe to be promoting the most aggressive, dangerous policies. But the GOP House will pull the plug on more czars in the future, he said, adding this “by far is not the end.”

“These are people who are literally running millions of jobs out of our country, and they’re being paid by the taxpayers,” Scalise said. “So we felt we wanted to take the most egregious, and the ones we were able to sack under the confines of a continuing resolution.”

The czars whose funding would be eliminated under the amendment include the health-reform czar, climate-change envoy czar, the green jobs czar, Guantanamo Bay closure czar, the TARP oversight czar, and the auto manufacturing czar, and the FCC diversity czar.

The amendment also proposes eliminating two czar slots that are unfilled: the urban-affairs czar and the energy and climate-change czar.

By far the most controversial official who would be out of a job is Mark Lloyd, the FCC diversity czar.

Lloyd cites author and radical organizer Saul Alinsky as a source of inspiration, and has praised Venezuela President Hugo Chavez for his “incredible” attainment of a “democratic revolution.” He favors re-implementation of the Fairness Doctrine through what is known as local-content restrictions, and has called Thomas Jefferson’s maxim “That government is best which governs least” an “outdated canard.”

Indeed, some Democrats are suggesting that Lloyd is the real target of the anti-czar amendment.

“Why saw this guy’s head off? Because some talk show host says so?” Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., said, according to HumanEvents.com. “I think this is poorly devised and poorly thought out.”

The amendment to yank the czar funding had surprisingly strong bipartisan support, winning the votes of 13 Democrats. Only one Republican, freshman Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, voted against it.

“This is the first round,” said Scalise, who knows his amendment faces a tough battle in the Democratic-controlled Senate. “I think we sent a strong message last night. The fact that it was such an overwhelming, bipartisan vote tells not only the president, but the Senate, that we’re serious about this.

“We’re very serious about accountability,” he added. “Frankly, the president promised transparency when he was running as a candidate, and he hasn’t fulfilled that pledge — especially as it relates to the proliferation of these czars.”

Scalise is calling on voters to step up let their representatives know how they feel about what he warns is effectively a “shadow government.”

“There are a lot of senators coming up for re-election in a year and a half, and they’re going to have to answer to their constituents,” he told Newsmax. “I would hope the American people stay engaged too and continue to send the message that this isn’t the way to run government, especially for the radical czars who are trying to make policies that should be reserved for cabinet secretaries who have gone through the Senate confirmation process.”

Editor's note: Get Newsmax's Special Report on Obama's Czars, unelected but too powerful — Click here now.

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