U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released the following statement after his transparency amendment was removed from final passage of the Energy Water and Appropriations bill. The bill passed by a vote of 80 to 17.
"The American people are entitled to the information being withheld in this bill. My amendment, which every Senator agreed to, simply said that all reports required in this bill be made available to all Senators and citizens of this country. A transparent government is an honest and accountable government. The removal of this amendment behind closed doors says that we have something to hide. It says that we want to keep the nation in the dark from the business we are conducting," Dr. Coburn said.
Coburn's amendment required any report mandated and submitted by a federal agency or department to the Committee on Appropriations of either the Senate or the House of Representatives in an appropriations act be posted on the public website of that committee. Reports that had a national security implication would be exempt. The amendment was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate.
"The people need to know what their government is doing, what is going on in Washington and they should be able to see the reports requested by a select group of Senators. With the passage of this bill we are saying that the American public should be kept in the dark and that we are in such an elite position we don't need to be held accountable. The arrogance that people don't need to know what their elected officials are doing is wrong and the citizens of this nation deserve more than the status-quo of the Senate," Dr. Coburn said.