Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appointed three Democrats to a 12-member deficit Super Committee Tuesday, giving observers and advocates an early indication of how the committee will function as it seeks over a trillion dollars in further deficit cuts by the end of the year.
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Just as important as who serves on the panel, though, is the question of whether it will function like most Congressional committees do -- open to press and voters, with conflicts of interest disclosed publicly, if not always swiftly or conveniently.
So often, high-stakes negotiations like these are conducted in private, where members feel free from accountability, and, to a lesser extent, from special interest influence. And because the debt ceiling statute that created the panel included no significant transparency requirements, the expectation has been that it will operate away from public scrutiny.
But there is growing pressure on Congressional leaders to pull back the curtain on the panel, including from influential members of their own parties. And now it seems as likely as not that the proceedings will take place in a way that makes it difficult for members to hide deal-making from the public.