A coalition of 56 organizations from across the political spectrum delivered a petition today to the Senate Armed Services Committee, asking that the committee open its deliberations for the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to the public.
The NDAA, one of the few bills usually passed every year, authorizes more than $600 billion in Pentagon spending and many wide-ranging policies. Yet, much of the Senate version of the bill is debated in secret, allowing the public little say in how a huge chunk of its taxes are spent.
The Open NDAA petition encourages the Senate Armed Services Committee to follow the lead of its colleagues in the House by giving the public access to all non-classified subcommittee and full committee markups. It also asks that a copy of the bill and amendments be posted online in a timely fashion.
“When Congress is deciding how to spend more than half a trillion dollars of the taxpayers money, it needs to do so in public,” the petition reads. “The public has a right to know how Congress is conducting the people’s business, particularly when so many taxpayer dollars and important wide-ranging policies are at stake... It’s time to bring the Senate NDAA into the light of day.”
The petition follows a letter the coalition sent in March to Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).