Politico reported what many have feared about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in a story titled “Supercommittee operating in secret.” Members of this committee are not disclosing details of negotiations on legislation to the press or the American public.
The supercommittee has become supersecret about most of what it’s doing. On Tuesday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) encapsulated the attitude of the members of the Joint Deficit Reduction Committee: “I don’t want to discuss what we discussed.”
The Committee is tasked to find $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. The membership has been meeting on and off over the past few weeks behind closed doors. They have scheduled a few public hearings for show yet those hearings have resulted in no concrete proposals for the committee.
Membership of the Super Secret Committee includes Senators Jon Kyl (R–AZ), Pat Toomey (R–PA), Rob Portman (R–OH), John Kerry (D–MA), Patty Murray (D–WA), and Max Baucus (D–MT) and Representatives Dave Camp (R–MI), Fred Upton (R–MI), Jeb Hensarling (R–TX), James Clyburn (D–SC), Chris Van Hollen (D–MD), and Xavier Becerra (D–CA). The membership of the Committee is all we know about the ongoing proceedings by the Committee behind closed doors.
Politico reported that both Republicans and Democrats on the committee refused to answer questions about the proceedings behind closed doors.
The panel met for roughly 6½ hours in the Capitol, and when its members left, they wouldn’t answer basic, innocuous questions about the policies they were discussing nor specify when the next meeting would take place. After the lawmakers left, staff seemed to clear the room of paperwork so as to leave no trace of evidence about how they were tackling the grave task of saving the nation’s fiscal health.
Both co-chairs of the committee dodged reporters. Co-Chair Sen. Murray said she was not going to discuss “any of the details.” Co-Chair Rep. Hensarling, left through a side door, avoiding the throng of reporters and cameras. The actions Committee members is evidence that they have found bipartisan agreement on the issue of secrecy.
Conservatives hope that members of this committee will, at some point, come clean and share all of the details of these negotiations. The American people have the right to know what their elected officials are drafting up.
The Super Secret Committee would be doing the nation a service if they opened the doors to CSPAN, the press and the American people during the next scheduled meeting.