Super Committee: Secret Meetings, No Signs Of Progress

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

by Caren Z. Turner

They were given the massive burden of coming up with a proposal to cut $1.2 trillion in government spending. They only have one more month before they must submit that proposal to Congress. With the deficit and the future of the nation’s struggling economy weighing greatly on their shoulders, we would expect them to be driven by an immense sense of urgency.

But no one knows what’s happening. No one except the twelve Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate who sit on the Deficit Super Committee. This is because their meetings have thus far been held in secret, out of the public’s eye. When committee members are approached by the media for updates on their progress, answers are vague and broadly general. Non-answers, ultimately.

We thought some answers might be forthcoming after the committee met (behind closed doors) with the “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of Senators who earlier this year crafted a deficit reduction proposal. But again, all was vague and absent of specifics when questions were asked.

Now, at this late stage, the Super Committee’s lack of progress is raising alarm bells on the Hill, and around the country. Members of Congress – including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – are calling for the Super Committee’s discussions to be conducted publicly.

Admittedly, the committee has had enormous numbers of recommendations to consider: it has received nearly 180,000 submissions from lawmakers, advocacy groups and ordinary Americans with suggestions on how to come up with $1.5 trillion in savings. Nonetheless, without any specifics as to the committee’s progress – any kind of progress – public confidence remains extremely low, and that only fosters growing suspicion toward a Congress with some of the lowest public approval ratings in the institution’s history.

Perhaps next week’s public meeting of the Super Committee– only the fourth such public meeting since convening in August – will reveal some clues as to what direction they are taking.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.

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