Congressman wants all ‘czars’ to testify

Congressman wants all ‘czars’ to testify

By Jordan Fabian – 09/09/09 10:11 AM ET

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) on Wednesday called for President Obama’s “czars,” or appointed high-level advisers, to testify before Congress about their “authority and responsibilities” in the executive branch.

The president’s “czars” have become a point of controversy among his opponents because they do not have to be confirmed by the Senate as cabinet-level officials do. 

McHenry wrote to committee chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asking the appointed officials to testify.

“If the czars have high-level, decision-making authority as their titles would indicate, then it is my concern that their appointment without Senate approval represents a circumvention of our Constitutionally-mandated confirmation process,” McHenry, who is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in his letter.

Czars were in the spotlight again after “green jobs” czar Van Jones’ resigned this weekend. It was revealed that Jones made harsh comments about Republicans and signed a “truther” petition alleging that the government played a role in the 9/11 attacks.

“His ability to slip into a position of power without due Congressional diligence only further underscores the necessity for a confirmation process,” the third-term Republican said of Jones.

However, the actual number of czars in the administration is a disputed matter. McHenry requests that all of President Obama’s 44 czars testify before Congress. But other reports put the number at around 30.

The North Carolina Republican did not provide a list of the 44 czars he wants to testify.

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