GOP wants transparent ‘supercommittee’

Republicans in the House and Senate are working ahead of the formation of the bicameral deficit-reduction supercommittee to guarantee increased transparency in the committees process.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems put immigration front-and-center on convention's first day Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security Super-PAC targets Portman on trade MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellProgressive group changes tone on Kaine Trump hits Kaine on TPP: He supports a 'job killer' Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ky.), a group of six GOP senators requested that the supercommittee meetings not take place behind closed doors.

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The letter asks that Reid and McConnell, who each will appoint three members of the Senate to the 12-member committee, see that all meetings of the deficit-reduction committee are done in a transparent manner through advanced public notification, public attendance and live television broadcasts.

Sens. Dean HellerDean HellerSenators offer bill removing hurdles to offering stock options Six senators call on housing regulator to let Congress finish housing finance reform Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (Nev.), David VitterDavid VitterTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense David Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate MORE (La.), Mike LeeMike LeeObama signs opioid bill Thiel said to explain support for Trump in convention speech Convention erupts at Cruz snub MORE (Utah), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Senators launch broadband caucus A GMO labeling law that doesn’t require English? No thanks! MORE (Ark.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Clinton brings in the heavy hitters Kasich doesn't regret skipping convention MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonSanders could be secret weapon for Dems The Trail 2016: The newrevolution begins Greens launch M ad buy in Wis. Senate race MORE (Wis.) signed the letter.

On Thursday, Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan (Fla.) announced he would introduce similar legislation in the House. “Too much is at stake to allow this 12-member committee to make critical decisions about the country’s future behind closed doors,” Buchanan said in a statement.

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Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress have until Aug. 16 to appoint six members from the House and six from the Senate to the so-called supercommittee. The panel will be tasked with crafting a $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package that will be presented to Congress before Thanksgiving, with an up-or-down vote on the whole package required by Christmas.

In a statement Thursday, Johnson expressed dismay with the inclusion of the supercommittee in the debt-limit bill, criticizing the separation of deficit decisions from the normal legislative process.


“The least we should expect is for that committee to do its business in the open,” he said.  

In their letter, the six GOP senators wrote that they were “united in [their] concern about the authority granted to this committee.”

“If our colleagues wish to raise taxes or propose spending cuts, the American people have a right to see that process unfold,” they wrote.

Vitter this week also introduced the Super Committee Sunshine Act, a bill designed to force appointed members of the supercommittee to disclose campaign donations of more than $1,000 they receive while serving on the panel. This bill would likely take on greater significance if members of the supercommittee run for office in 2012.

Although speculation regarding who will serve on the supercommittee has been rampant since the debt-limit deal became law Tuesday, congressional leaders have remained quiet about whom they are considering for the 12 slots.

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