President Barack Obama's new debt commission should make its meetings public and vote on recommendations before this fall's elections, the top House Republican demanded Wednesday.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a letter to the chairmen of the new commission Obama established by executive order last month, pressed for more public deliberations and a vote on the commission's recommendations before Election Day.
Boehner asked whether or not the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) would apply to the debt commission's acts, which would mean all meetings would be open to the public and an executive director for the commission picked by a vote of the 18 members of the panel.
But Boehner also sought to force a vote on the commission's recommendations, which Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have pledged, earlier than the Dec. 1 deadline mandated in Obama's executive order setting up the new commission.
"Considering that a lame-duck Congress could conceivably vote on the Commission’s recommendations shortly after they are reported, would the Commission report its recommendations two months earlier – by October 1, 2010 – in order for the electorate to engage elected officials and candidates for office on the Commission’s report prior to the election?" Boehner asked the chairmen, former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.).
The earlier deadline would threaten to make the commission's recommendation and incumbents' votes on the report an issue in the crucial midterm elections.