Republicans in the House and Senate are working ahead of the formation of the bicameral deficit-reduction “supercommittee” to guarantee increased transparency in the committee’s process.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThe Trail 2016: GOP stages of grief Dems slam Trump over taco bowl tweet Reid: GOP is the party of Trump MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRyan fans GOP civil war over Donald Trump Third-party push gaining steam Missouri Republican: Trump has not earned my vote MORE (R-Ky.), a group of six GOP senators requested that the supercommittee meetings not take place “behind closed doors.”
Sens. Dean HellerDean HellerStoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment MORE (Nev.), David VitterDavid VitterSenators aim to bolster active shooter training 5 takeaways from Mike Lee’s leadership bid Republicans demand shift in Obama’s ISIS strategy MORE (La.), Mike LeeMike LeeReid: Cruz, Lee on Supreme Court should 'scare you' Cruz: Boehner unleashed his ‘inner Trump’ Senate pressured to take up email privacy bill after overwhelming House vote MORE (Utah), John BoozmanJohn BoozmanDemocrats race to link GOP incumbents to Trump Dem Senate candidate rips Trump’s ‘serial harassment’ of women Bringing US rice back to Cuba MORE (Ark.), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteStoddard: Can Trump close the deal with the GOP? Trump plans visit to Capitol Hill Ayotte alarmed by sped-up Gitmo reviews MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonThe Trail 2016: GOP stages of grief The Hill's 12:30 Report The Trail 2016: And then there was one 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.