GOP votes to dethrone Obama's policy 'czars'

The House GOP approved an amendment to a government-spending bill that would block funding for the Obama administration’s so-called policy "czars,” appointed advisers to the president that have been much-criticized by Republicans. 

The vote was 249-171.

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The amendment, offered by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), specifically targets Obama’s “climate czar” by blocking funding for the assistant to the president for energy and climate change, the position's official title. The amendment would block funding for the 'czars' through the end of the fiscal year, when the spending bill would run out. The underlying bill also includes a provision to block funding for the position.

"I think this sends a strong signal to the president that we are tired of him running this shadow government, where they have got these czars that are literally circumventing the accountability and scrutiny that goes with Senate confirmation," Scalise said after the vote.

Carol Browner, who currently holds the position, announced last month that she will resign, leaving the future of the office in doubt.

Scalise said the measure blocking the czars also makes good fiscal sense.

"We are going to save millions of taxpayer dollars, but we are also going to send him a signal that he is going to have to hold his administration accountable to the same transparency that he promised, but has unfortunately failed to deliver," he said.

Republicans railed against Browner and Obama’s other policy advisers, arguing they played too great a role in the president’s policy decisions for officials that were appointed rather than confirmed by Congress.

The amendment would also prohibit funding for the director of the White House Office of Health Reform; the State Department’s special envoy for climate change; the special adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation at the Council on Environmental Quality; the senior adviser to the secretary of the treasury assigned to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and senior counselor for manufacturing policy; the White House director of urban affairs; the special envoy to oversee the closure of Guantanamo Bay; the special master for TARP executive compensation at the Department of the Treasury; and the associate general counsel and chief diversity officer at the Federal Communications Commission.