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Lewis-Camp Letter Requests Open Meetings and Negotiations

February 10, 2009

Washington D.C. – Ranking Members Camp (R-MI) and Lewis (R-CA) delivered the following letter to Chairmen Rangel and Obey requesting that any and all conference meetings and negotiations include representation from Republican Members. 

The Honorable David Obey                                 The Honorable Charlie Rangel Chairman                                                                   Chairman
Appropriations Committee                                         Ways and Means Committee
U.S. House of Representatives                                 U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515                                             Washington, DC 20515 


Dear Chairmen Obey and Rangel,

As we prepare to enter a conference committee on the House and Senate versions of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we respectfully request that any and all conference meetings and negotiations include representation from Republican Members.

Congress must act quickly to enact a fiscally responsible, fast-acting, and cost-effective stimulus bill that adequately represents the interests of American taxpayers. We believe that the best way to the accomplish this is through open conference discussions which include the opportunity for full and fair participation by the Minority.

It is essential that all conference negotiations on this massive “stimulus” bill be held in the light of day, with thorough and thoughtful discussion on all matters of disagreement or concern. Allowing this historic and enormous spending package to be negotiated between a small handful of leaders and staff behind closed doors would set a dangerous precedent for the future, eliminate transparency and accountability to the American taxpayers, and wholly undermine all efforts at bipartisanship by the Administration or other Congressional leaders.

We understand the need for fast action and are committed to working in an expeditious manner with you, our counterparts in the Senate and members of the Administration to proceed under full sunlight so that our constituents can have full faith in this process and the resulting legislation. 

Please advise us at the earliest possible time of the public schedule for the conference committee on H.R. 1 and of any additional meetings or negotiations you intend to hold.


JERRY LEWIS                                                DAVE CAMP
Ranking Member                                          Ranking Member
Appropriations Committee                        Ways and Means Committee