The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) is applauding Maine Senator Olympia Snowe’s decision to cosponsor legislation in the U.S. Senate to require all meetings and hearings held by a newly-created deficit-reduction committee be open and transparent to the public.
“Creating a twelve-person ‘super committee’ to do the job of 535 elected representatives is yet another indication of a broken political system in dire need of repair. That is why it will be critically important for virtually every vote, every hearing, and every deliberation to be completely transparent and available for the public to see,” Sen. Snowe said in a statement released today.
The so-called “Super Committee” was created by the debt-ceiling compromise recently enacted to increase the nation’s borrowing by $2.4 trillion. The committee is tasked with identifying $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions by late-November. Its recommendations, which could include a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, will be fast-tracked for votes in the House and Senate.
The legislation Sen. Snowe has cosponsored would require all deficit-reduction committee meetings and hearings be open to the public, have advanced public notice, and be broadcast on live television.
Sen. Snowe’s decision comes after newly-named MHPC chief executive officer Lance Dutson sent a letter to her and Senator Susan Collins urging their support of the movement for open and transparent deficit-reduction committee meetings, and after an MHPC Action Alert urging its members to contact the two Senators, as well as Maine Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, with a message to cosponsor legislation to guarantee transparency measures.
“We consider Sen. Snowe’s co-sponsorship of this transparency legislation a tremendous victory for the open government movement in Maine and across the nation,” Dutson said. “We are grateful for her leadership on this important issue. Her support will be critical as transparency advocates seek to shine a light on the deliberations of this Super Committee. Hopefully, the rest of Maine’s federal delegation will do what they can to expand and protect the public’s right to know what this Super Committee is up to.”