Trump’s plan to expand his power has met with some opposition from Republicans


WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s sweeping plans to reshape the presidency — and give himself more power than ever if he is re-elected to the White House — have met with a cool reception from members of his own party in Congress.

The former president and his allies are vowing to bring independent federal agencies like the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission under the president’s direct control, to revive the practice of “seizing” funds approved by Congress, and to remove job protections for thousands of civil servants executive branch, ostensibly to replace them with Trump’s self-selected political representatives.

The proposals set out in a New York Times story This stems from Trump’s years of grievances about the so-called “deep state”, the media and Congress itself getting in the way of his autocratic tendencies. They base themselves on a thesis long popular with the right, entitled “Unified Executive Theory“, a model in which the president has sole power over the entire executive branch of government, including independent agencies and even federal prosecutors — like this one, for example Investigations against the President himself.

Senator JD Vance (R-Ohio), who has previously supported Trump’s bid for a second term, said Trump’s seizure of power is necessary to curb the power of bureaucrats and government officials. He called Trump’s plan to empower the presidency even more “necessary to have a constitutional republic.”

“To achieve true separation of powers, the president must have prerogative of administering laws,” Vance told HuffPost. “If you have all these alphabet soup agencies, where the bureaucrats cannot be fired and are not under the president’s control, you have effectively created a fourth branch of government that is completely unaccountable to the people. This is a real problem.”

“We’re trying to identify the niches of independence and we’re trying to carve them out,” Russ Vought, Trump’s former director of the Office of Management and Budget and a leading proponent of the seizure of power, told the Times.

There are some debate on the left about how seriously the system is to be taken and whether it is just campaign material unlikely to become law. It is currently clear that Congressional Democrats would unanimously reject the plans, with at least some Senate Republicans willing to go along with them. Expanding presidential power would ultimately come at a high cost to congressmen, who value their ability to oversee industries and allocate funds.

Leading Republican appropriators have also voiced opposition to the idea of ​​resurrecting the president’s confiscation powers. Congress passed legislation banning this tactic in 1974 after a dispute with President Richard Nixon, who withheld $40 billion in funding passed by Congress during his first term. Revitalizing the practice would require another act of Congress.

“The Constitution is very clear about the role of Congress and the power of the budget, so I wouldn’t do that,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, told HuffPost.

“I don’t think I agree with the Trump team’s plans,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.), who is also a member of the committee. “I want the independence of an appropriator.”

Republicans, who sit on the Senate Commerce Committee, have also been concerned about how Trump might limit their power.

“I think for obvious reasons these are independent agencies designed that way, so I’m not sure what that does,” Senator John Thune (RS.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said when asked told HuffPost if he would support bringing the FTC and FCC under the President’s control.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversees the two agencies — also did not support the plan. Instead, he went on to smear FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, a prime Republican target for her aggressive strategy in attacking big tech companies.

“I want to say that Lina Khan’s abuse of power over the FTC will add significant momentum to Congress’ efforts to rein in runaway, supposedly independent agencies,” Cruz said.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who also serves on the Commerce Committee, said he must “review very, very carefully” any proposal to bring the agencies under Executive Branch control. He expressed the wish that the FTC and FCC act impartially.

According to the Times, Trump’s allies are drafting an executive order that would require independent agencies to submit measures to the White House for consideration. Should the move be implemented under a second Trump presidency, he would likely face a legal challenge.

“I think it’s very important that we remember that he can’t just wave his wand and override the legal structure of these expert agencies,” Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said of the twice-indicted former president. “It doesn’t matter what he thinks. The law is the law. If he wants to change the structure of the agency, he has to ask someone to introduce a bill.”

Schatz said if Trump wants to change the structure of federal agencies, he should do so by appointing commissioners who agree with him.

“It’s exciting to think about the new ways Mr. Trump would do harm and it’s always worth worrying about, but the truth is there are laws and he has to obey them,” he said Treasure.

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