Since the creation of the so called "Super Congress" as part of the debt ceiling deal, pressure for the Joint Congressional Committee to conduct their work on further deficit reduction in a transparent way has increased. Last week, Public Campaign, along with two dozen other groups, sent an open letter to Congress calling on the soon-to-be-formed committee to cease all fundraising for the duration of the work, and disclose all meetings with lobbyists, CEO's, or donors.
Other coalitions have made similar pleas to Congress, and late last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on the committee to conduct their work in an open way.
Pelosi: "The American people are watching to see if the bipartisan Joint Committee will develop a plan to responsibly reduce the deficit in a balanced way while promoting economic growth and creating jobs," Pelosi said in a statement. "The work of this Committee will affect all Americans, and its deliberations should be open the press, to the public and webcast. Any acceptance of the Committee proposal will be dependent on the ability of the American people to fully view its proceedings."
And also last week, Rep. Vern Buchanon (R-Fla.) added his voice to the call by introducing a bill that would require the Super Congress to televise all meetings.
Buchanon: "In the past, massive legislative measures have been written in the middle of the night by a handful of members and staff, and then quickly passed into law before the American people have a chance to even see what the final version looks like, let alone determine how they feel about it," he said. "This is not acceptable."
Transparency is certainly important, especially given the magnitude of the Super Congress' work. But simple openness isn't enough. Members of the committee should head the call laid out in the aforementioned open letter. Big Oil, Wall Street, and every other special interest and their lobbyists are chomping at the bit to get access and influence over these members. And unless they forgo the temptation of a campaign cash windfall, there's no telling who they're really looking out for--everyday Americans, or big money donors and their teams of lobbyists.
Sign the petition urging the Super Congress to look out for us, not wealthy interests.