President Barack Obama Defies Congress On Czars, Gitmo

President Obama left town Friday for Christmas vacation having won the fight on the payroll tax and leaving a message of defiance for Congress.

Friday Mr. Obama signed into law a $1 trillion funding bill that prevents the federal government from hiring a new auto czar and several other policy advisers. Photo: marcn/Flickr

In a statement Obama said that the provision might “prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials.”

Friday, Obama said ‘too bad’ in issuing a dense, legalistic statement that means he won’t accept in the bill.

“Several provisions in this bill, including section 627 of Division C and section 512 of Division D, could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials in the execution of their statutory responsibilities,” Obama said.

“I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Being a part of a compromise, the funding bill forbids “czars” related to such spheres as health care, climate change, the auto industry and urban affairs.

President’s administration has already fulfilled all the questions connected with these czars. The White House revealed that the Bush, Clinton and Reagan administrations also used many czars.

Czars or coordinators do not need the confirmation of the Senate. They have drawn intense criticism from many Republicans and Conservatives.

In the statement the President claimed he deserved the right to interpret the provisions if he sees fit, that means he could choose not to follow the ban.

“I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” Obama said.

The statement also reduces a number of provisions aimed at restricting how the White House copes with the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison for terrorism suspects.

“My Administration has repeatedly communicated my objections to these provisions, including my view that they could, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles,” Obama added. “In approving this bill, I reiterate the objections my Administration has raised.”

Firstly, the White House stated former investment banker Steve Rattner as “car czar” in February 2009, but later he faced the bankruptcy reorganizations of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.

In July 2009 Rattner was replaced by Ron Bloom. He faced the $85 billion auto industry bailout to move to the White House to focus on manufacturing. He resigned in August.

The next czar, Tim Massad, an assistant Treasury secretary who was appointed by the Senate in June, now oversees the auto and bank bailouts as part of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The President’s administration hasn’t limited the time when it might sell its remaining 26.5 percent stake in GM, or its 74 percent stake in Detroit-based lender Ally Financial Inc. The Treasury reported last month it estimates it will lose $23.6 billion on the auto bailout.

The new law also includes $255 million to maintain production of the Abrams tank, part of Michigan’s defense industrial base for next 30 years. The bill funds tank upgrades at a rate of 70 per year, the level sought by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak. [Via Huff Post and the Detroit News]

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.