Sen. Sessions criticizes secrecy surrounding fiscal negotiations

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is calling on President Obama and congressional leaders to hold open talks to steer clear of the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“These secret talks violate the principle of American government that would be open to -- every city, county school board has open meeting laws. You're not supposed to be meeting in secret,” the ranking member on the Budget Committee said late Friday on Fox News’s “On the Record.”

“Why doesn't the American people know what it is the president would like to see as the final idea for America's financial future?” he asked host Greta Van Susteren.

Negotiators are trying to find an agreement to stave off a combination of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday declared a “stalemate” in negotiations, one day after the White House delivered an offer that Republicans panned.

“[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] refused to bring up a budget. … Why did he do so? Because he did not want a public discussion and did not want to publicly lay out a firm plan for how to fix our future,” Sessions said.

“And it left us having to try desperately at dramatic deadlines try to reach an agreement among -- with a few people in meetings negotiating. That's really not what the American democracy is about.”

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Thursday presented congressional leaders with an initial offer based on the president’s budget that, according to Republicans, included $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to entitlement spending.

Boehner on Friday said the offer was “not a serious proposal” and that the White House had asked for new spending that would exceed the cuts it proposed upfront.

Sessions blamed the deadlock on Democrats’ “hubris.”

“And so what we get is hubris after this big election win, 2 percent, maybe, 2 or 3 percent election win. So they've got a lot of confidence and they're shoving the numbers even further than they were just a few months ago.”