In light of the behind-closed-doors healthcare negotiations going on right now, Congressman Vern Buchanan is circulating a discharge petition for his "Sunshine Resolution," a resolution that would express the sense of the House that the negotiations should happen under the public’s watchful eye – just like taxpayers have been promised. ATR and CFA support the effort, and are urging members of the House of Representatives to sign onto the discharge petition. From our letter:
We write to urge you to swiftly sign onto Rep. Vern Buchanan’s discharge petition for H.Res. 847, the “Sunshine Resolution” sponsored by Rep. Buchanan, and in doing so force a swift vote on this important matter.
The resolution would express the sense of the House of Representatives"that any conference committee or other meetings held to determine the content of national health care legislation be conducted in public under the watchful eye of the people of the United States."
Taxpayers were made lofty promises with regard to transparency specifically relating to the healthcare debate, but these promises have yet to be implemented.
During a debate in January of 2008 President Obama famously stated:
That’s what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are, because part of what we have to do is enlist the American people in this process.
Members of Congressional leadership have echoed this sentiment on numerous occasions and have proclaimed their commitment to open and transparent negotiations on this important subject which stands to directly affect all Americans in their livelihoods.
However, rather than going through a formal conference process to reconcile the different healthcare bills, the President and Congressional leaders have decided to once more to shut out the public and are embarking on an abbreviated behind-closed-doors negotiation.
The American people deserve better, especially from Congressional leaders who once pledged to make Congress the “most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress.” Consequently, we urge you to sign onto Rep. Buchanan’s discharge petition and to support the underlying House Resolution, so that taxpayers will finally be enlisted in this process, as they have been promised.
Clearly, it is the sense of the people that the negotiations be transparent. It should be a no-brainer to express that it is also the sense of the House.