House amendment would sack Obama's czars

Removing special advisers couched as another cost-cutting move

The House has passed an amendment attached to a spending package to sack President Barack Obama’s so-called "czars."

The amendment from Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is part of legislation approved Feb. 19.

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Calling the appointment of those officials a “reckless practice” Scalise’s amendment targets more than nine advisers, including the White House director of health care reform, the assistant to the president for energy and climate change and the Treasury Department’s special master for TARP executive compensation, reports Federal Times.  The amendment would end expenses and salaries for the offices.

 A czar position refers to an administration official or adviser to the president who oversees a specific policy area, but who doesn't require Senate confirmation. Many presidents have used them, notably including Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

 “Hardworking American families should not be forced to pay millions of dollars to fund these czars who are implementing radical policies under the cloak of darkness rather than going through the open and transparent process that we promised,” Scalise said.

In January, he reintroduced legislation that would require Senate approval of all czars through a formal confirmation process. The measure states that the process is called for because czars hold “similar authority and power as cabinet officials,” Scalise said.

But his amendment still has far to go. “The House bill, which would slash more than $61 billion from agency spending this year, has already drawn a White House veto threat,” writes Sean Reilly of Federal Times. It “stands no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate in its current form,” Reilly adds.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.


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