Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0:

Americans for Tax Reform supports a YES vote on Cruz amendment #1296 to the MilCon/VA, Ag, T-HUD minibus.

Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) introduced an amendment last month which would strip the salary of Ann Carlson, a radical environmentalist currently serving as an acting official in the Biden administration. The amendment will be voted on today, October 31st.

The proposal from Sens. Cruz and Lummis aims to amend the “minibus” funding package for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing. If passed, the amendment would prevent any funds from the package from going toward the salary of Biden’s Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ann Carlson. 

Carlson was named as Acting NHTSA Administrator in September 2022 and was nominated by President Biden to become the official NHTSA Administrator in February. Her nomination, however, failed to earn enough support for confirmation by the Senate and was withdrawn by the President in May. Even so, Carlson continues to serve as Acting Administrator with no end in sight.

Carlson, an environmental lawyer by trade, faced steep opposition from Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee who cited her lack of experience in traffic safety and warned at the time that she may issue stringent new fuel economy standards that “effectively mandate the production of EVs.” In July, under Carlson’s acting leadership, NHTSA did issue these standards as predicted, a radical move that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and broadly restrict freedom of choice in vehicle purchases.

Moreover, in a recent letter to President Biden, Republicans on the committee argued that Carlson cannot lawfully serve today as Acting Administrator under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. According to the latter statute, any actions taken by an individual who is serving illegitimately in an acting role “shall have no force or effect.”

The Biden administration has made a habit of attempting to keep acting officials indefinitely in positions where his nominees failed to earn Senate confirmation. Julie Su, President Biden’s failed nominee for Secretary of Labor, will reach her 210th day as Acting Secretary in early October, the limit for individuals covered by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Acting officials have led the Wage and Hour Division and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency since early 2021, and earlier this year the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that three more acting Biden administration officials were serving unlawfully.

Senators should support the Cruz-Lummis amendment to the minibus to defend against the Biden administration’s lawlessness and pressure the President to nominate a NHTSA Administrator who can actually earn enough support for confirmation. Americans for Tax Reform encourages a “YES” vote on Amendment 1296 issued by Senators Cruz and Lummis.