U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today cautioning that any plan to avert the fiscal cliff that is produced in secret and revealed at the last minute will perpetuate the same problems that have plagued previous efforts:
"Today, President Obama hosted party leaders at the White House for the newest round of closed-door meetings while the Senate stands adjourned.
We are once again headed towards some secret deal that will be presented in 11th hour and 59th minute, rushed to passage under the threat of panic. Meanwhile, the economy continues to suffer from this ominous cloud of uncertainty.
I can understand why the President wants to operate in secret. When he submitted his budget in February, it was panned across the board for failing to meet any of the targets he set out. So now, instead of putting a plan on paper, the President again retreats to secret meetings. Why should Americans agree to higher taxes when the President and his Majority Leader refuse to say how the money will be spent?
Secrecy cements the status quo: more spending, more debt, more runaway government. It is the enemy of accountability, change, and reform.
It is time to try the one thing that hasn't been tried: open, public process on the Senate floor. The American people elect Senators to be their voice and their vote in this chamber. We cannot simply rush through some secret deal that no one can amend, alter, review, scrutinize, or dispute. That is why I am calling upon our leaders to guarantee that any plan to avert the fiscal cliff has one full week on the Senate floor with open amendment and debate.
Genuine consensus in which the American people participate can only be achieved through the hard, public work of the legislative process. Differences will be clarified and the true harrowing depths of our financial dangers will be made known.
No "deal' should be passed that the American people and their representatives have not had time to review."