Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 13, 2009


Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Washington Post - Article One [of the Constitution] tasks the legislative branch with establishing federal agencies, defining what they do, determining who leads them and overseeing their operations. Article Two requires the president to seek the advice and consent of the Senate when appointing certain officials to posts of consequence. Thus, authority is shared between government branches, guaranteeing the American people transparency and accountability.

As the senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, I oversee legislation and agencies that cover policy areas as vast and varied as trade, technology, transit, consumer protection and commercial regulation. As many as 10 of the 32 czars functionally fall under my committee's jurisdiction. Yet neither I nor the committee chairman have clear authority to compel these czars to appear before our panel and report what they are doing. The Obama administration presented only two of these officials for our consideration before they assumed their duties. We have had no opportunity to probe the others' credentials.


Blogger m said...

I certainly agree that Executive branch members should be commonly brought before the Congress, and that none should be exempt.

But what has changed since the administration of Bush43, members of which repeatedly refused to appear before Congress. Or when the did condescend to testify, refused to be sworn.

I am not happy about calling any American official a Czar, but that is not their job title, but rather a nickname. And of course it was a Republican, Nixon, who created the first two.

September 14, 2009 4:42 PM  

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