Congress requests hearings on czars

On September 15, 2009 a Concurrent Resolution was submitted by members of the House of Representatives expressing the sense of Congress that the President should issue, and Congress should hold hearings on, a report and a certification regarding the responsibilities, authorities, and powers of his “czars.”

Whereas Congress recognizes that the Constitution vests in the executive branch the power to appoint Presidential advisers whose communications to the President are protected under executive privilege;

Whereas Congress recognizes the importance of coordinating executive agencies, and recognizes that Presidents often appoint special assistants, commonly referred to as “czars,” to manage this coordination with regard to important areas of national policy, and to advise the President;

Whereas at least 36 czars have been appointed in 2009, raising concerns about the Federal government’s provision of adequate transparency and accountability to the public; and

Whereas members of Congress are concerned that the appointment of these czars and their actions may subvert the legislative and oversight authority of Congress under article I of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),

That it is the sense of Congress that–

(1) the President should–

(A) issue a report to Congress clearly outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and authorities of the special assistants to the President, commonly referred to as “czars,” that he has appointed; and

(B) certify to Congress that such czars have not asserted and will not in the future assert any powers other than those granted by statute to a commissioned officer on the President’s staff; and

(2) Congress should hold hearings on such report and such certification within 30 days after the date of their receipt.                             

View H Con Res 185 to see if your US Representative sponsored/co-sponsored this Resolution. If you’re not sure who your Representative is, a full list is available by state/district.

The concurrent resolution was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

What is a Concurrent Resolution? Often seen as H.CON.RES. (House Concurrent Resolution) or  S.CON.RES. (Senate Concurrent Resolution).  Concurrent Resolutions are limited in nature. They are not legislative in character, and are not presented to the President for action. They are used to express facts, opinions, principles and purposes of the two houses, such as fixing the time and date for adjournment of a Congress. Annual congressional concurrent resolutions set forth Congress’s revenue and spending targets for the coming fiscal year, and thus have great impact upon other legislation. Upon approval by both chambers, they are published in a special part of the Statutes-at-Large. They do not require Presidential approval, and do not have the force of law.


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