If you thought Obama's czars were bad, just wait until he can appoint all sorts of regular government officials to positions of authority without Senate approval.
Saint Dick apparently thought this was such a good idea that he signed on the dotted line to sponsor this legislation (known as S. 679) on the very first day it was filed, alongside Dick Durbin of Illinois, Chuck Schumer of New York, and Harry Reid himself.
Abdicating the Senate's Constitutional role in advising on Presidential appointees, particularly with a President as imperial and lawless as this one, is particularly unwise.
Advise and consent is not a rubber stamp, though Dick Lugar has apparently believed for a very long time that it should be.
Saint Dick's own personal philosophy on Presidential nominees, as he has repeatedly explained it, has always been to approve whoever the President nominates regardless of how loathsome or troubling those nominations might be. This is supposedly why he voted for liberals like Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan.
So, in some sense, this particularly bad piece of legislation is just a formal codification into law of something that Lugar has already believed, and been practicing, for a very long time.
Red State disagrees:
Undoubtedly, there is a need to expedite the presidential appointee process. However, ceding more power to an administration that is overzealous to impose policy by administrative fiat, is not the way to go. Congress has slowly abjured its power to the executive branch by writing open-ended legislation, granting federal agencies wide latitude to promulgate destruction over our economy. Obama has already used radical executive appointees for the purpose of consolidating power in the executive branch. Why would any Republican sign on to such a dangerous expansion of executive power? Whom do they think Obama will appoint to these positions if there is no oversight?
Here’s a novel idea for streamlining the confirmation process of presidential appointees: shrink the size of government so there will be no need for most of these jobs. It’s high time for Congress to halt its self-immolation, and reign in the executive department behemoth.
The Heritage Foundation is opposed to the legislation, and offers a lengthy explanation (including citations from the Constitution and some historical perspective) about why it is a particularly bad idea.
When the delegates of the states gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and wrote the Constitution, they distributed the powers of the federal government among two Houses of Congress, a President, and a judiciary, and required in many cases that two of them work together to exercise a particular constitutional power. That separation of powers protects the liberties of the American people by preventing any one officer of the government from aggregating too much power.
The Framers of the Constitution did not give the President the kingly power to appoint the senior officers of the government by himself. Instead, they allowed the President to name an individual for a senior office, but then required the President to obtain the Senate’s consent before appointing the individual to office. Thus, they required the cooperation of the President and the Senate to put someone in high office.
The Congress should not decide by law to relinquish the Senate role in filling a federal office and leave filling the office to the President alone, unless the Congress concludes for each such office that the Senate’s checking influence on the President is of no value because the office is of little or no authority or consequence. Generally, each time Congress by law removes the Senate from a role in the appointment to a federal office, the institutional influence of the Senate diminishes by a marginal amount and the influence of a President increases by a marginal amount. If the office is of little or no authority or consequence, the shift in influence may be immaterial, but if the office wields power that affects the American people, the Congress should not abdicate the Senate checking function.
It does not appear that the sponsors of S. 679 have determined that each of the offices the bill converts from appointments made by the President with Senate consent to appointments made by the President alone is an office of little or no authority or consequence. Instead, it appears that the principal sponsors simply concluded that the Senate is too slow in performing its duty to consider and consent (or not) to presidential nominations and hope to accelerate the Senate process by simply reducing the number of such nominations the President must make.
The Congress should not reduce the number of Senate-confirmed appointments as a means of dealing with its cumbersome and inefficient internal process for considering nominations. Doing so gives away Senate influence over a number of significant appointments, does nothing to improve the Senate process, and still leaves nominees whose offices require nominations mired in the Senate process. The proper solution to the problem of a slow Senate is to speed up the Senate rather than to diminish the role of the Senate. The Senate should look inward and streamline its internal procedures for considering all nominations.
Things like this are yet another important reason that Dick Lugar should be sent packing from Washington and replaced with a conservative Senator that won't be a rubber stamp for Obama.