The Washington Post

Spending bill bars the czars

Stick a fork in them--the czars are done.

So long, czars (a redux): Congress again passed legislation defunding White House positions. (Chip Somodevilla/GETTY IMAGES)

And besides which, the White House had previously eliminated or shifted those positions, which focused on health care, the environment, the auto industry, and urban affairs, moving their functions within the President’s domestic policy council.

But for good measure, the new spending bill again withholds funding for the following positions: director of the White House’s Office of Health Reform; the assistant to the president for energy and climate change; senior advisor to the Treasury Secretary assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counsel for manufacturing policy; and the director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

Those jobs had either been eliminated or left vacant. The White House has shut down the Office of Health Reform, and did not name replacements when Carol Browner left the climate-change job, or when Adolfo Carrion left the urban affairs office, or when Ron Bloom stepped down from the manufacturing-policy position.

Still, Obama indicated he wanted to reserve his authority to appoint such advisors when he issued a signing statement to accompany the April spending bill. In the statement, he said Congress’ attempts infringed on the separation of power.

“The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it,” he wrote.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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