Scalise says Obama violates Constitution over 'czars' act

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the chief sponsor of the effort to defund administration-appointed advisers known as "czars," reacted angrily Saturday to a signing statement from Obama saying he plans to keep them. In a statement emailed to The Hill, Scalise accused Obama of acting like a “dictator.”

"President Obama should know that it is the courts, not the executive branch, that has the authority to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress, especially considering that he agreed to this provision and signed the law himself," Scalise said in an emailed statement.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The President does not have the option of choosing which laws he will follow and which he will ignore,” he continued.

Scalise said that Obama's backtracking on the czar issue will make future talks on spending and the budget more difficult.

“The president knew that the czar amendment was part of the overall budget deal he agreed to, and if he cannot be trusted to keep his word on this, then how can he be trusted as we negotiate on larger issues like federal spending and the economy,” he said.

“A bipartisan coalition in Congress agreed that President Obama was circumventing the constitution by appointing these czars without the scrutiny of Senate confirmation. The United States is not a kingdom run by a political dictator, and President Obama needs to quickly reverse course and abide by the law eliminating the czars that were part of the budget resolution agreed to by Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio], Senator [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.], and President Obama himself,” Scalise continued.

Scalise was the sponsor of HR 59, the Sunset All Czars Act, which had 53 cosponsors.

Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office is not surprised Obama found a way to circumvent Congress, according to a staffer.

"It's not surprising that the White House, having bypassed Congress to empower these 'Czars' is objecting to eliminating them," Michael Steel, spokesman for Boehner, said.

The spending bill signed by Obama on Friday contained a provision defunding four administration advisers known as the healthcare, auto, climate change and urban affairs czars.