The top Democrats on each House committee are making recommendations to the 12-member debt-reduction panel on how best to trim federal spending, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Thursday.
The move comes as the bipartisan debt “supercommittee’s” deadline looms a little over a month away and as the panel’s members have been holding regular closed-door meetings as they work toward hashing out a plan to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade.
“Democrats strongly believe that economic growth is an integral component of such a proposal, because creating jobs is the most effective way to reduce the deficit,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the co-chairs of the supercommittee announcing the move. “We call upon the (supercommittee) to promote the entrepreneurial spirit of America by making a top priority the creation and expansion of small businesses, which serve as the main generator of jobs.”
The full letters from the 16 ranking Democrats on each of the 16 House committees can be found here.
The letters also come one day before an Oct. 14 deadline set by August’s debt-ceiling legislation by which House and Senate committees must submit their own recommendations to the supercommittee.
Pelosi had earlier penned a letter directing the ranking Democrats on each committee to work with their panel chairmen in order to craft recommendations. But she wrote in her letter Thursday that “in most cases, however, the Republican Chairman declined to hold Committee hearings or to develop recommendations with the Democratic members.”
Several lawmakers including Pelosi have criticized the debt supercommittee for taking its meetings behind closed doors after pledging an open process — and particularly after each of this year’s government-funding deals and the debt-ceiling agreement were hammered out by leaders in private.
The top House Democrat on Thursday reiterated her call for open meetings and recommended that the supercommittee “schedule a public hearing to receive testimony from respected and bipartisan proponents of big, bold, and balanced deficit reduction, including Senator Alan Simpson and Hon. Erskine Bowles, Alice Rivlin, and Senator Pete Domenici, and the ‘Gang of Six’ current Senators.”
“The Committee also should schedule a public hearing at which Chairmen and Ranking Members could present their proposals for achieving responsible and balanced deficit reduction, including those contained in the letters sent today by our Ranking Members,” she wrote.