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 ReidPuerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate McCain files B amendment to boost defense spending Dems to GOP: Cancel Memorial Day break MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell-allied group: We'll back Rubio if he runs for reelection Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left 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 HellerLake Mead hits record low water level Tough choice for vulnerable GOP senators: Embrace or reject Trump Press: Forget about GOP unity in 2016 MORE (Nev.), David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump outlines 'America First' energy plan in North Dakota Paul blocks chemical safety bill in Senate House Republican pushes bill to 'curb regulatory overreach' MORE (La.), Mike LeeMike LeeOvernight Cybersecurity: Guccifer plea deal raises questions in Clinton probe Senate panel delays email privacy vote amid concerns Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise MORE (Utah), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanOvernight Tech: House GOP launches probe into phone, internet subsidies Overnight Tech: Trade groups press NC on bathroom law GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' MORE (Ark.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return Senate GOP ties Iran sanctions fight to defense bill MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonThe Trail 2016: Interleague play Sanders fundraises for Feingold in Wisconsin Senate race Pressure builds from GOP to delay internet domain transition 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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