federalexpression

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Another Step Toward an American Dictatorship: Re-Writing the Constitution Piecemeal

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The House of Representatives voted to re-write Article II Section 2 of the US Constitution last week.

S. 679  A bill to reduce the number of executive positions subject to Senate confirmation passed the house by a vote of 261-116 with 54 members abstaining. This bill passed the Senate by a vote of 79-20 with 1 member abstaining on June 29, 2011. It will now go to the President’s desk for signing into law.

He [The President] shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
Article II Sec 2 US Constitution

The wording above seems to indicate that the heads of departments require Senate confirmation but lesser appointments may be designated to others by law. I find it rather interesting that this law goes into affect 60 days after signed into law and it has passed both houses 90 days prior to the next term of office of President. Obama must be licking his chops at a possible opportunity to take these new powers for a test drive.

The creation of The Department of Homeland Security and the subsequent re-organization of the executive branch has moved key appointees under the Director of Homeland Security. Among these appointees are the Treasurer of the United States, the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, the director of the Office for Domestic Preparedness, and the assistant administrator of FEMA. These appointees have traditionally been considered key appointees subject to “advice and consent”of the Senate. Apparently, this is no longer the case. There are also a veritable army of key management positions under the Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture and the Commerce Department exempted from confirmation.

In an attempt to streamline the appointment process so as to cure a backlog of appointments, the Congress has decided to abrogate its responsibility in another key area of government. One would think that a backlog of this nature is indicative of an ever increasingly bloated executive branch that needs to be reined in. Instead, the Congress has reduced itself so that the executive branch might grow larger. I am reminded of a quote in the Declaration of Independence:

The history of the present King of Great Britain  …
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Reference:  House Passes Bill Eliminating Senate Approval of Presidential Appointments
Reference: The Text of the Bill [pdf]

Written by federalexpression

August 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm

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