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Senate Proceeding 09-22-09 on Sep 22nd, 2009 :: 2:08:55 to 2:19:25
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Susan Collins

2:08:36 to 2:09:00( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from maine. mrs. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that proceedings under the call dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i call up amendment number 2498 and ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding ofcer: is there

Susan Collins

2:08:55 to 2:19:25( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Susan Collins

Susan Collins

2:09:03 to 2:09:23( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: an objection? without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from maine, ms. c endment numbered ms. collins: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you,

Susan Collins

2:09:24 to 2:09:44( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: mr. president. mr. president, i rise today to call up an amendment to ensure that the so-called czars appointed this administration can't be held accountable to congress and to the american people.

Susan Collins

2:09:45 to 2:10:05( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: the effective functioning of our democracy is predicated on open government, on providing a transparent process for the people we serve. it cannot instill trust and confidence in its citizenry unless government fosters accountability.

Susan Collins

2:10:06 to 2:10:26( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: it is against that backdrop that i raise my concerns regarding the administration's of at least 18 new czars to smg some of the most complsmg -- to manage some of the most complex issues facing our country. now, mr. president, i'm not

Susan Collins

2:10:27 to 2:10:49( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: talking about traditional offices in -- within the office of the president. i'm not talking about, for example, the position of his chief of staff of his press secretary. similarly, i am not talking about officials who have responsibility to coordinate

Susan Collins

2:10:50 to 2:11:11( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: policy across agency lines that are specifically established in law. a good examp of that is the director of national intelligence. that is a established by congress whose

Susan Collins

2:11:12 to 2:11:32( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: head is president -- nominated by the president and confirmed by congress, so i'm not talking about those officials either. what i'm talking about are new positions not created in law that have been established who have significant

Susan Collins

2:11:33 to 2:11:53( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: responsibilities, or so it seems. part of the problem here is we don't know exactly what the responsibilities are. as i, along with several of my colleagues, including the ranking memr of this subcommittee, senator alexander, recently expressed in a letter to the president,

Susan Collins

2:11:54 to 2:12:16( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: troubled because these czars fail t provide the accountability, transparency, and oversight necessary for our constitutional the creation of czars within the executive office of the president and elsewhere in the executive branch circumvents the

Susan Collins

2:12:17 to 2:12:37( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: constitutionally mandated advise and consent role our founding fathers assigned to the senate. th ability of congress to conduct meaningful oversight and to hold officials accountable for their actions, and it creates

Susan Collins

2:12:38 to 2:13:01( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: confusion about which officials are responsible for the government's policy decisions. for example, an individual for which i have great respect,s the health policy czar within the white house. kathleen sebelius is the secretary of health and human

Susan Collins

2:13:02 to 2:13:25( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: services, so who is making policy when it comes to health care? whom do we hold accountable? well, we know that we can call the secretary of health and human services before us to testify in open session at public hearings, we cannot call ms. depar

Susan Collins

2:13:26 to 2:13:47( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: before us to testify, even though she's been great about coming up for private meetings. senators alexander, bond, crapo, roberts, and bennett joined me in writing to the president to raise these important issues. we have identified at least 18

Susan Collins

2:13:48 to 2:14:08( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: czar positions whose reported responsibilities may be underming the constitutional oversight responsibilities of ngress or the express statutory assignments of responsibility to other executive branch officials. now, again, to be clear, i do not consider

Susan Collins

2:14:09 to 2:14:29( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: identified in various media reports to be problematic. positions that are established by law or subject to senate confirmation, such as the director of national intelligence, the homeland security advisor, and the chairman of the recovery, accountability and transparency

Susan Collins

2:14:30 to 2:14:50( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: board, do not raise the same concerns about accountability, transparency and oversight. furthermore, we all recognize that presidents are entitled to rely on experts to serve as but those czar positions within the executive office of the

Susan Collins

2:14:51 to 2:15:12( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: president and in some executive agencies from efftive congressional oversight. and many of the czars appointed by this administration seem either to duplicate or dilute the statutory authority and responsibilities that congress

Susan Collins

2:15:13 to 2:15:35( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: already has conferred upon cabinet-level officers and other senior executive bra officials. indeed, mr. president, many of these new czars appear to occupy positions of responsibility and authority than some of the officials that

Susan Collins

2:15:36 to 2:15:56( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: come before us for senate confirmation. whet elsewhere, these czar appointments are not subject to the senate's constitutional advice and consent role. little information i available during their authority.

Susan Collins

2:15:57 to 2:16:20( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: there's little senate examination of their character and qualifications. and we're speaking here of some of the most senior important positions within our government. the appointment of so many czars has muddied the waters, causing confusion and risking miscommunication going forward.

Susan Collins

2:16:24 to 2:16:46( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: we need to know with clarity who in charge: the czar or the cabinet official? whom can the congress and the american people hold accountable for government policies that affect their lives? for these reasons, mr. president mr. president, i offer an amendment that wouldrevent any more federal funds from being

Susan Collins

2:16:47 to 2:17:08( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: made available for the until two key conditions are met. and i don't think these cond i don't think they're difficult for the president to meet, but they would make a real difference first, the amendment i'm proposing would require the president to certify to congress that every one of these

Susan Collins

2:17:09 to 2:17:31( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: positions wil reasonable requests to testify before or provide information to any congressional committee with jurisdiction over the matters the president has adesigned that individual. -- has assigned to that individual. second, our amendment would require every czar to issue a

Susan Collins

2:17:32 to 2:17:53( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: public written report twice a year to these same congressional committees. this report could include a description of the a the official in the office, any rule, regulation or policy that the official participated in the development of, or any rule, regulation or policy th the official dirted be developed

Susan Collins

2:17:54 to 2:18:14( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: by the department or agency with statutory responsibility. this amendment would represent a significant step toward establishing an oversight regime for these positions that would provide the transparency and accountability that our nation

Susan Collins

2:18:15 to 2:18:35( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: expects from its leaders. beyond the specific requirements of this amendment, in the letter that we sent for the president, we've implored the president to consult carefully with congress additional czars or filling any existing vacancies for these

Susan Collins

2:18:36 to 2:18:57( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: positions. mr. president, we stand ready to work with the president to address the challenges facing our nation and to provide our country's senior leaders with the authority, legitimacy necessary to do their jobs. if there are problems, then the

Susan Collins

2:18:58 to 2:19:20( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: administration should come to us us. we can work o revamping organizational structures to help eliminate those problems. but we must eliminate the serious problems with oversight, accountability, transparency, and vetting that are associated with the proliferation of these czars.

Susan Collins

2:19:21 to 2:19:25( Edit History Discussion )

Susan Collins: i urge my colleagues to support what i think is a very reasonable approach to this

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