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House to vote on ending auto czar job

by Candice Miller on February 16, 2011

Detroit News Washington Bureau
Washington — The House is expected to vote this week on a proposal to bar the Treasury Department from employing an auto “czar.”U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, introduced an amendment to House Republicans’ spending measure that would eliminate funding for nine so-called “czar jobs at the White House, Treasury Department and other agencies.
“The dramatic increase in czars by this administration is a dangerous and growing trend, and my amendment to start defunding President Obama’s czars will fully reverse this reckless practice,” Scalise said in a statement.”It’s time we start sacking these czars.”
The White House in late 2009 defended its use of “czars,” even though it doesn’t officially use that title, and noted that other administrations, including the Bush administration, had similar positions.
In January, Scalise reintroduced a bill that would require Senate confirmation of czars holding similar authority and power as cabinet officials.
Thirty-nine lawmakers have signed onto Scalise’s bill, including Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia.
Scalise’s bill would eliminate the position of “auto czar,” but the job is currently open.
Ron Bloom, who has served in the job since July 2009 as auto czar in the Treasury department, moved to the White House this month to a role on manufacturing policy.
The Treasury has said his former role will largely be filled by an assistant secretary who oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program — the federal bailout package that funded the $85 billion auto rescue.
Many of the other czars that Scalise seeks to eliminate have also moved on, and it’s not clear if they will be replaced.
Scalise also seeks to eliminate the position of the Treasury Department’s pay czar, which has handed down approval of the pay for the top 25 executives of companies that got extraordinary bailouts — including General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Ally Financial and AIG Inc.
Other czars that Scalise would eliminate include the White House special advisor for green jobs and assistant to the president for climate change. Van Jones, the jobs czar, left in late 2009, and climate czar Carol Browner said in January she planned to leave.
Other jobs that Scalise would eliminate include the State Department’s special envoy for climate change, the White House director of urban affairs and White House director of the office of health reform.

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