Since being sworn in, President Obama has appointed as many as 34 czars to oversee and implement a wide array of his agenda ranging from the automobile industry to global warming to the Great Lakes. With a salary of up to $172,000 in addition to staff, office and travel budgets, Congressman Jack Kingston (R/GA-1) sees the appointments as a growing problem costing taxpayers millions.
To make matters worse, Kingston says, only a very few of these czars have been confirmed by the United States Senate despite the Constitution’s requirements for Senate confirmation. To address the matter, the Congressman has introduced legislation which would withhold funding from any czar not confirmed by the Senate.
“While the Constitution may be inconvenient to the Administration, Article II, Section 2 clearly requires the ‘advice and consent of the Senate,’” Congressman Kingston said. “Why won’t the President use transparency and have these people come before the Senate and undergo the constitutionally-mandated process? In 300 years, czarist Russia had just 18 czars. It’s taken just seven months for President Obama to nearly double that number.”
While previous administrations had czars – Ronald Reagan had 1, George Bush had 1, Bill Clinton had 3 and George W. Bush had 4 – Congressman Kingston’s concern takes root in the number and speed with which they are being appointed as well as the vast policy areas they govern.
“At this rate, we’ll have 272 czars by 2012,” said Congressman Kingston. “It seems President Obama is in the midst of forming a parallel government to push his policies. Not only do they duplicate existing Senate-confirmed positions, they are completely unaccountable. I serve on the Appropriations Committee which is responsible for overseeing every dollar spent by our government but I’ve yet to see a single one of Obama’s czars.”
That lack of accountability, Congressman Kingston contends, is what leads to waste. Just last week, President Obama’s Stimulus Accountability Czar announced that the stimulus accountability website was getting an $18 million makeover.
“Eighteen million dollars to design a webpage? Talk about stimulating the economy,” said Kingston.
For more information on Jack’s efforts on czars, please visit http://kingston.house.gov/czar
Bill HR3226 Text on Thomas (LOC)
It’s about time a representative steps up to the plate and challenges what many believe to be a violation of the constitution, at least in spirit.
We need to convince all of our representatives to support this bill with letters, emails and phone calls. We, as constituents, should note all of our representatives who end up opposing this legislation and hold them accountable for doing so. The more quickly we sweep out of office those who would seek to circumvent the constitution, the better chance we have of returning our government to the people.
Of course, I would prefer to see legislation barring czars altogether but this is a good first step toward that goal.