Super Committee Meets in Secret
Friday, September 30, 2011
The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, aka the “Super Committee” tasked with eliminating $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit, has met secretly over the past month, keeping its discussions out of the press and refusing to divulge any of its considerations for budget cuts or tax increases.
The committee’s secrecy would appear to be in violation of its own rules, which require that meetings be open to the public.
John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation, a non-profit watchdog organization, says the members of the Super Committee are “denying that they’re holding meetings, in order to avoid longstanding requirements that those meetings be public.”
Secrecy has been a part of the committee even before it was officially created by Congress. It was “created through a wildly secretive process that produced a bill that nobody could read before voting on it,” adds Wonderlich.
The committee has until November 23 to issue its budget recommendations, which the House and Senate must approve in their entirety. Lawmakers will not be able to offer amendments to the plan that’s proposed.
Committee membership consists of 12 members of Congress: six Democrats and six Republicans, with each party’s members split between the House and Senate.
The Democrats are: Senators Patty Murray of Washington (co-chair), Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts, plus Representatives Xavier Becerra of California, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
The Republicans feature Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Representatives Jeb Hensarling of Texas (co-chair), Fred Upton of Michigan and Dave Camp of Michigan.
As Jake Sherman and Matt Dobias put it in Politico, “when their meetings let out, they make a bipartisan dash for the exits.”
Super Committee in the Shadows (by John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation)
Supercommittee Operating in Secret (by Jake Sherman and Matt Dobias, Politico)
For Super Committee, Mum’s the Word (by Meredith Shiner, Roll Call)
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