Sessions on Secret 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations: 'The Senate Now Operates Like the Russian Duma'
9:22 AM, Dec 12, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions continues to argue against the secrecy of the ongoing "fiscal cliff" negotiations with an op-ed this morning in today's Wall Street Journal. Sessions argues that the secrecy is inherently anti-Democratic, and similar to the "Russian Duma, where officials meet behind closed doors, put out the word, and the overwhelming votes materialize."
"The United States is on an unsustainable spending and debt course. Without reform, it will lead to economic disaster. Yet a fundamental alteration in U.S. policy won’t occur until the American people understand the depth of the danger and the scale of change required. One thing is already clear: Such change can begin only with extensive, messy and even contentious legislative work carried on for months in the open light of day," Sessions's op-ed begins.
"This is the exact opposite of the hidden negotiations to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Washington has become possessed by the idea that a small group of negotiators, meeting in secret, can solve the deep, painful and systemic problems plaguing this country with a single 'grand bargain,' produced at the 59th minute of the 11th hour. This is a siren song."
Sessions then suggests it's an anti-Democratic procedure. "The Senate was once called the world’s greatest deliberative body. But the democratic process—which leads to consensus, truce or compromise—has been set aside. So for three straight years the Senate has produced no budget, no plan, no long-term proposal of any kind," he writes.