House Minority Whip Eric Cantor is blasting President Obama for appointing too many policy czars.
The Virginia Republican points out that Obama said while campaigning for president that he would reverse the Bush administration’s policy of concentrating more power in the White House.
“To say President Obama failed to follow through on this promise is an understatement,” Cantor writes in The Washington Post.
“By appointing a virtual army of "czars" — each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House — the president has embarked on an end run around the legislative branch of historic proportions.”
A few czars would be OK in Cantor’s view. But there are at least 32 czars now, “meaning the current administration has more czars than Imperial Russia,” he says.
“Vesting such broad authority in the hands of people not subjected to Senate confirmation and congressional oversight poses a grave threat to our system of checks and balances.”
Cantor creates a humorous jigsaw puzzle out of these officials. “The administration has a Mideast peace czar, not to be confused with the Mideast policy czar, a Sudan czar and a Guantanamo closure czar.
“Then there's the green jobs czar, sometimes in conflict with the energy czar, who talks to the technology czar, who sometimes crosses paths with the urban affairs czar. We mustn't forget the Great Lakes czar or the WMD czar, who no doubt works hand in hand with the terrorism czar.”
Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, W. Va., complained about the proliferation of czars too, in a letter to Obama, Cantor notes.
He says the constitutional mandate that the Senate confirm appointees in positions of authority is being broken.
“The point here is not that President Obama's reliance on czars is illegal, although it does raise significant, unresolved constitutional issues,” Cantor writes. “It's that we have not been able to vet them, and that we have no idea what they're doing.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says the czars could create confusion over policy responsibility.
For example, "Who's in charge of healthcare?" she asked FoxNews.com. "Is it the secretary of Health and Human Services? Or is it the White House czar?
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