Republicans introduce bill to eliminate presidential 'czars'

A group of House Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday to rein in the various "czars" in the Obama administration.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and 28 other House Republicans introduced legislation to do away with the informal, paid advisers President Obama has employed over the past two years.

The legislation, which was introduced in the last Congress but was not allowed to advance under Democratic control, would do away with the 39 czars Obama has employed during his administration.

The bill defines a czar as "a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President" who is appointed to a position that would otherwise require Senate confirmation.

Republicans had complained about the president's use of czars to help advance his agenda in Congress. In particular, the GOP had harped about the personal history of Van Jones, the president's czar for "green jobs," over past comments Jones had made about Fox News came to light. Jones eventually resigned.

Another prominent czar over the past year was Carol Browner, the president's energy and environmental adviser. She helped head up efforts in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the ultimately unsuccessful effort for an energy and climate bill from Congress.

Republicans introduced several bills to eliminate czars in the last Congress, but similar legislation could conceivably advance in the House now that the GOP controls the chamber.

"We haven’t gotten an indication of an exact timeline for committee action, considering that the bill was just filed yesterday," said Scalise spokesman Stephen Bell. "We hope to have this discussion in the near future as the congressman works to pursue all the bills he has introduced in the 112th Congress."

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