……Under pressure from the White House, arguing separation of powers, Senate Democrats on Thursday employed a procedural tactic to kill an amendment that would have imposed congressional oversight on some 18 czars appointed by the Obama Administration, though not confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
The amendment to a spending bill that funds the Interior Department was sponsored by moderate Maine Sen. Susan Collins, top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee,who took to the floor to decry the move, saying she was “deeply disappointed” that her colleagues would do this.
The measure would have withheld federal funds for the creation of any new, unconfirmed czar positions until the Administration agreed to allow the individuals to testify before Congress, if a “reasonable request” was made, and every czar to produce a detailed “public, written report” biannually of their actions and involvement in the creation of policy, rules, and regulations.
“My amendment has been carefully tailored to cover officials that the President has unilaterally designated for significant policy matters. It would not have covered the President’s chief of staff, for example, and it would not cover less senior White House officials, despite some misinformation to the contrary,” Collins said, noting that her staff had worked with White House officials Wednesday night without agreement.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-IL, a close ally of the White House, was not convinced, sensing a more politically-motivated attack, by “czar watchers,” invoking “the political wiseman” Fox News’ Glenn Beck, as well as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, who Durbin said had found a larger number of czars than Collins, who detailed 18 unconfirmed czars for the record.
“Who’s going to define who is covered by your amendment?” Durbin implored. He also noted that the workload the Collins amendment would have imposed on the czars would be onerous.
Right now, there’s 32 czars. Dickie Durbin conveniently forgets that it’s not just Glenn Beck who’s concerned with the extraordinary number of “czars” and their lack of accountability; the public has also taken note of THE ONE’s hubris.
Any administration who refuses scrutiny of its appointees has a major credibility problem. Considering Obama’s collection of czars include the likes of Mark Lloyd, Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and Carol Browner, they deserve all the scrutiny they get.
I’m glad pundits like Beck are “czar watchers’. So are we.