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Letter on Fiscal Cliff NegotiationsFINAL

Letter on Fiscal Cliff NegotiationsFINAL

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Published by Sunlight Foundation

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Published by: Sunlight Foundation on Dec 10, 2012
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12/30/2012

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President Barack Obama December 10, 2012The White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20500The Hon. Harry Reid The Hon. Mitch McConnellSenate Majority Leader Senate Minority Leader522 Hart Senate Office Building 317 Russell Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510The Hon. John Boehner The Hon. Nancy PelosiSpeaker of the House House Minority LeaderU.S. Capitol, H-232 235 Cannon House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515Dear President Obama, Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Representative Boehnerand Representative Pelosi:The undersigned organizations are concerned that negotiations around averting the"fiscal cliff" may take place entirely in secret, and policy decisions will be passeddown to the public as a fait accompli, with no public input or resultingaccountability. While we understandthat there should be room for privatedeliberations,we urge you to ensure that a minimal standard of transparencyapplies to the process.Specifically, we urge you to ensure that any legislation resulting from yournegotiations is online for 72 hours prior to consideration in Congress. The public, aswell as those elected officials who are not principle negotiators, should have theopportunity to review legislation before it is voted on.Second, we urge you to make public any side agreements, including promised voteson future legislation. All of the terms of the agreement must be subject to publicscrutiny in order to establish if they represent the public’s interest.Finally, we recommend that meetings with lobbyists and others advocating aposition on averting the fiscal cliff be disclosed online in real time. The influenceindustry is in full gear attempting to protect special interests, and their effortsshould be made public.Transparency around the coming negotiations represents our best chance to elevatesubstance and reduce undue influence. At the same time, it will foster accountabilityand greater public acceptance of the difficult policy decisions that will result fromthese negotiations, while returning to a healthy process where such decisions aremade through regular, representative channels, in full public view.Sincerely,

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