Top Senate Republicans call for more transparency in debt limit negotiations

Amanda Carey Contributor
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The top Republicans on the Senate Finance and Budget Committees sent a letter to President Obama on Friday, calling on the president to release any proposals discussed during the debt limit negotiations.

While warning against a rushed, 11th-hour deal, Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, wrote that proposals need to be made public in order for them to be reviewed by congressional committees, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the public.

Also on Friday, Sessions announced his intention to introduce legislation that requires any deal on a debt limit increase to be made public seven days before a vote can occur.

The moves come just one day after the Obama administration floated a new deadline for the deal: July 22.

If Sessions proposal for a seven-day notice passes, that means a deal would need to be reached and sent to Congress by July 15.

In their letter to the president, Sessions and Hatch wrote that Americans should know the “vision” their elected officials have for the country’s fiscal future. (Rep. Franks blasts administration for engaging terrorist group)

“Unfortunately, this information is being kept a secret as part of the closed-door negotiations,” the senators wrote. “We respectfully request that you provide us, in detail, the most recent version of the proposals that were discussed, including a list of any tax increases for which the White House reportedly advocated.”

Earlier this week. President Obama scolded Congress for dragging its feet on reaching a deal to raise the debt limit. Though a group of bipartisan lawmakers have met with Vice President Joe Biden for weeks in an attempt to negotiate a deal, both sides are digging in their heels.

Democrats and the White House maintain that any deal must contain revenue increases along with spending cuts. Republicans, however, insist that any deal consisting of tax increases will not make it through Congress. (GOP senator accuses Obama of ‘phoning it in’)

“The votes simply aren’t there – and they aren’t going to be there,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner in response to Obama’s press conference, adding that a deal must contain spending cuts that exceed the debt limit increase, long-term solutions for cutting spending, and no tax increases.

“The longer the president denies these realities, the more difficult he makes this process,” said Boehner.