Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Take Care Act Wednesday, a bill designed to promote accountability and effective administration by restoring the original understanding of the President’s constitutional power to remove his subordinates.
“For nearly 150 years after the Founding, it was well-established that Article II of the Constitution gave the President complete power to remove upper-level executive branch officers,” Sen Lee said. “But following the Supreme Court’s deeply flawed decision in Humphrey’s Executor, Congress has, since the New Deal era, gradually created an immense, headless fourth branch of government that is outside the President’s control and thus totally unaccountable to the American People. It’s time for a course correction.”
“For too long, massive federal agencies have been regulating our lives and our businesses without any democratic accountability,” Senator Hawley said. “The Take Care Act is an important step in reining in these bureaucrats by bringing them back under the control of the elected branches of our government.”
The Take Care Act would reform the administrative state by eliminating all existing restrictions on the President’s power to remove upper-level executive branch officers. Further, it limits the creation of future removal restrictions by requiring Congress to expressly establish such restrictions by statute.
The bill also eliminates certain other impediments to the President’s directive authority, such as restrictions on the White House’s review of independent agency communications. In short, the bill fully restores the original understanding of the President’s power to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
Alongside Chevron deference and open-ended delegations of legislative authority to agencies, restrictions on the removal power are among the most troubling ways in which the modern administrative state contradicts the original constitutional design. The Take Care Act thus complements other important conservative regulatory reform initiatives, such as the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, and the ARTICLE ONE Act, that Senator Lee supports.