Do Government Agencies Answer To Voters?
LEE’S SUMMIT, DECEMBER 20, 2013 – A few weeks ago, with the Affordable Care Act debacle (Obamacare as is the vernacular) , my wife and I were discussing why I’m so against the idea of Health and Human Services running Health Care: Simple, they don’t answer to the voters.
If we don’t like a politician, and enough of us agree, we can vote them out of office.
If we don’t like a particular law that was passed, we can always remove those who sponsored it, and voted for it, and perhaps – in rare cases – elect people who actually repeal or reverse the law.
How do you do that with the regulator who goes beyond what we, the voters, think it should be? We can’t fire them. We can’t elect a replacement. We can’t even get Congress to truly regulate the agency – if you doubt my concern think about the Fast and Furious overstepping that has not led to one firing or one recompense for the victims, or the IRS deliberate attack on the political machine known as the Tea Party, or the lack of explanations regarding Benghazi.
We can, eventually, elect a new president. Who would appoint new secrtaies for each of the government agencies – but the career men and women that work in the departments are still there.
We can, eventually, elect a new Senate. The senate can make the approval of heads of agencies more difficult, more stringent and more aligned with the will of the People; but they cannot replace those people entrenched in the jobs.
Once Congress and the President create and Agency it never goes away. It can be renamed. It can be combined with others. But it has not done away with any agency in my living memory. The power of the vote was diminished.
We as voters can affect the future events, but we cannot change the current course of the EPA, the Department of Energy, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Labor, or even the office of the Attorney General.
The bureaucratic structures within all 15 Executive Departments of the President are calcified and self-directing for the most part. Political leaders last as long as the President likes what you’re doing. When a new president is put in office a new head is assigned; but the career bureaucrats stay on – the plow forward upheaving the landscape and never answering to the Electorate.
Let me give you a better idea of what I’m talking about: There are 64,750 people employed by Health and Human Services – do you think Kathleen Sibelius or any other political appointee is truly in control (not in charge) but in control of what HHS does? We’re lucky if she knows the top 100 managers by name, and she may influence the actions of maybe five or ten; but they all – to a person – know that she’s there for one reason only: To grown her temporary empire (more programs) and to try not to get fired too soon.
The career bureaucrat knows that they just have to wait out the opposition, and regulate as much as they can during times of support. They know that they will outlast any single political cycle – they have for decades.
We, the voters, cannot touch them – or so they think.
Have you ever thought about it?
Let me ask you some open ended questions to think about this holiday season:
- Do political appointees to these agencies control the budget, or is it the career people?
- Can an political appointee truly change the agency? What leverage do they have to make the change?
- How effective have the “Oversight committees” been? Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS, which others do you remember?
- Did you elect the Human Resource Manager at HHS or any other Agency? Could you fire them like you can your congressman or senator?
- Is this the Government structure Washington envisioned or feared?
The Lee’s Summit Conservative
p.s., The Executive Cabinet
In order of succession to the Presidency:
Vice President of the United States
Joseph R. Biden
Department of State
Secretary John Kerry
Department of the Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew
Department of Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel
Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Department of the Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell
Department of Agriculture
Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack
Department of Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker
Department of Labor
Secretary Thomas E. Perez
Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Shaun L.S. Donovan
Department of Transportation
Secretary Anthony Foxx
Department of Energy
Secretary Ernest Moniz
Department of Education
Secretary Arne Duncan
Department of Veterans Affairs
Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
Department of Homeland Security
Acting Secretary Rand Beers
The following positions have the status of Cabinet-rank:
White House Chief of Staff
Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Gina McCarthy
Office of Management & Budget
Director Sylvia Burwell
United States Trade Representative
Ambassador Michael Froman
United States Mission to the United Nations
Ambassador Samantha Power
Council of Economic Advisers
Chairman Jason Furman
Small Business Administration
Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit