BY BRIAN DARLING – Last week, Vice President Joe Biden headed a bipartisan meeting on the debt—a closed-door one.  Just like the five before it.

These meetings are an effort to find common ground for the House and Senate to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Aug. 2.  The American public, however, has not been allowed to watch these negotiations.  For Republicans and Democrats to exclude the American people from these meetings is outrageous.

The negotiations include Biden, Senators Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.), Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) and Daniel Inouye (D.-Hawaii), and House members Eric Cantor (R.-Va.), Jim Clyburn (D.-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.).  It is widely expected that if these members do cut a deal, they will release the details close to the Aug. 2 deadline.

Sen. Kyl gave Congressional Quarterly a glimpse into the negotiations when he said that a deal may include “$2.4 trillion in budget reductions over the next decade or longer” in exchange for a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit.

Our nation is founded on the idea of the consent of the governed.  Participation by the American people is a continuous process, and the First Amendment to the Constitution allows them to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  Americans can’t be involved in the process when they are deliberately shut out.

It is clear any deal on raising the debt ceiling won’t provide sufficient time for town hall meetings, constituent meetings, open hearings, public debate and a markup of the deal in committee.  This deal will simply be stuffed down the throat of the American people without any regard for their wishes.

 

Brian Darling is the director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation and writes for Human Events. His columns appear frequently in Hawaii Reporter.

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