“Would You Like Tax Hikes or Spending Cuts With Your Eggs?”

John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation reports on a possible closed meeting of the Supercommittee tomorrow. Initially this was described as an “executive session” of the Supercommittee; later it was “clarified” that it will be a “private breakfast meeting.”

The Supercommittee rules clearly require, at a minimum, that a vote be taken in open session in order to close a meeting to the public. Thus, if the event tomorrow qualifies as a “meeting” within the meaning of the rules, it would not be permissible.

But is it a “meeting” in that sense? According to experienced congressional counsel, a “meeting” within the meaning of the rules requires that there be some sort of formal transaction of business, as opposed to an informal “working session.” If no vote is held nor other formal action taken, presumably it can be argued that any get-together of the Supercommittee falls within the latter category. Whether or not this conforms to the spirit of the rules depends, I would think, on what actually transpires at this private breakfast.

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