|10-16-2006, 06:38 PM||#1|
Mo' holla fo' yo' dolla!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: In a bunker in an undisclosed location
Bush reserves right to name his friend Flicka as FEMA chief
Undaunted by the fiasco that was Michael Brown, president Bush has told Congress to butt out of the hunt for the next FEMA chief. Brown, the Arabian horse aficionado who led the Federal Emergency Management Agency into the Katrina disaster, had no previous disaster management experience and Bush says he has the authority to appoint equally unqualified successors.
What Congress did was write a set of minimum qualifications for the position into the budget authorization bill for the Department of Mothership Security. What Bush did was issue a signing statement saying that the bill “purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the President may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office.”
In other words, the Congressional demand for someone with the expertise to run the office rules out most of the president’s applicant pool. (This is the same signing statement in which the president asserted the right to edit or suppress Congressionally mandated reports from Homeland Security on the agency’s compliance with privacy rules.)
The president probably does have the right to ignore constraints on whom he can or can’t appoint to any particular position. If he wants to follow Caligula’s example and go himself one better by appointing a horse to the position rather than merely a horse fancier then he can, so long as the horse passes the security check.
At that point it’s up to Congress to exercise some oversight; what apparently spurred the insertion of job qualifications into the budget bill is a lack of trust in themselves to vote Flicka down if Bush appoints her to the position. And who can say them neigh? It isn’t as though Congress has actually functioned as a check on the executive branch since 2001. Recognizing their inability to do so is probably the most rational thing they’ve done in recent years, although they can’t have expected Bush to abide the attempt to do by legislation what they won’t do in hearings.
The requirement Bush finds so troublesome? Congress wants the next FEMA chief to have five years of related experience under his or her belt before saddling up to run the front-line agency tasked with handling major US disasters.
In other words, they don’t want someone who, like the president, is all hat and no horse. But with this administration you got to be careful what you wish for.