The ink from President Barack Obama’s pen is hardly dry on the new debt-reduction law, but some Senate Republicans want it immediately amended to guarantee that upcoming negotiations by the “super committee” will be open to the public.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seven GOP senators expressed concern that the meetings would be conducted in secret.
They said they plan to introduce legislation that would also make any related phone or teleconference communications held by the committee available to the American people.
“If our colleagues wish to raise taxes or propose spending cuts, the American people have a right to see that process unfold,” the senators wrote. “We ask you, as two of the appointers of the Committee, to ensure that all meetings and hearings are done in a transparent manner through advanced public notification, public attendance and live television broadcasts.
“Meetings will include any time a quorum of members are present to discuss committee related matters whether it be in person, over the phone or via teleconference,” they wrote.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said she and her fellow GOP co-sponsors of the legislation want to make sure the new committee is held accountable and that the process of determining its recommendations on how to deal with the nation’s budget issues is transparent.
“All Americans have a direct stake in the outcome of this committee's work, and they have a right to know how their tax dollars are going to be spent as the debate moves forward,” Ayotte said. “It is vitally important that these negotiations be conducted in the public view, rather than in secret meetings held behind closed doors.”
In addition to Ayotte, the legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada, John Boozman of Arkansas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Lee of Utah, and David Vitter of Louisiana.
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