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December 3, 2001
Democrats Claim Bush Social Security Panel's Secret Meetings Violate The Law
Should the folks who are revamping the social security system do so in public or behind closed doors? In public, say some of the Democrat legislators who eventually will write the changes to the social security laws. But they claim that the special panel President Bush set up to recommend changes to social security has been doing the public's work in private. And these Democrat members of Congress have introduced legislation to bring a little sunshine into the process. Critics of the social security reform panel are concerned that President Bush appointed people to the panel who would rubber stamp his $1 trillion privatization plan.

Tax Notes reporter Warren Rojas writes that Democrats Bob Matsui (Calif.), Henry Waxman (Calif.), Lloyd Doggett (Texas), Earl Pomeroy (N.Dak), and Xavier Becerra (Calif.) have introduced legislation to block the president's bipartisan social security panel from holding closed door discussions. Current law, say these legislators, requires government advisory committees to hold public hearings and meetings. However, they claim that the social security reform panel has not followed the law. Instead, the panel's cochairs have permitted the 16-member panel to split into smaller groups to gather information.

The cochairs of the social security panel explain that the subgroups did not violate federal laws and regulations governing public meetings because the subgroups did not make any decisions.

Matsui counters that "as you talk and deliberate and move toward a conclusion, that is part of the decisionmaking process."

Click here for the full text of Rojas' article. You may quote from all of these articles, or reprint them, but please notify us if you do so and please credit our writers.

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Media Release 2001-12