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Mr. Speaker, every President has the right to get advice from anybody he wants to get advice from. That's a good thing. United States Presidents have a tough job. They should have as many advisers as they wish. My dad, in fact, would like to be one of those advisers to this President and wishes he was an adviser to all the past Presidents.
These czars, as they are now called, are not new to the executive branch. But when a person crosses the line from being an adviser to being a policymaker and decision-maker for the government, that person needs to be held accountable to the people of the United States. Someone who gives advice to the President is one thing, but there's a difference between an adviser and someone who sets a policy and implements that policy. Then that person has direct control over the American people. If this occurs, our Constitution requires that person be subject to the oversight of Congress to be legitimate.
The big questions become: are these czars advisers or are they policymakers? If they become policymakers, then transparency is important, accountability is important, and confirmation by the United States Senate is mandatory. Our Constitution requires it. Without the confirmation process, we don't know who these people are. And are these czars nothing more than a shadow government? We don't know.
The Constitution mandates visibility and oversight by Congress. That's how our government works within the bounds of our law. We don't know how many czars we have or who they are. How much do they get paid, and where does that money come from? What do they do? Who do they report to? Are they in control of the executive branch and its duties? Well, we don't know.
What are the Cabinet secretaries doing? Who reports to whom? Do the czars report to the Cabinet members? Or do the Cabinet members report to these folks? The American public does not know. We don't know because there's no oversight and no accountability, and it doesn't seem like anybody's talking. Czars haven't gone through the Senate confirmation process. Are they a national security risk? We don't know. No one knows.
Now the FBI tells us they go through a background check. But it's the same background check that the FBI does for a White House intern. These czars do not get a security clearance. That's a much more detailed background check for people with more responsibility than a White House intern. The FBI gives the information from the czar-intern background check over to the White House--that's it. And once the FBI hands the information over, they have nothing else to do with the czars. If these czars are decision-makers and policymakers, that's not acceptable. Just like Cabinet secretaries, they need to be vetted. We have to know who the people are that are in control and who controls the levers of our government. This is just common sense. The American people don't want a shadow government controlling America. Just who are the czars? We have the right to know, and Congress has the responsibility to find out.
And that's just the way it is.
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