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Reporters press for open session on defense bill

Reporters press for open session on defense bill

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A group advocating for the Capitol Hill press corps asked the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday to open the panel's crafting of the annual defense policy bill.

The Standing Committee of Correspondents wrote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and urged him to reconsider the panel's April 23 decision to meet behind closed doors when it drafts the legislation. The panel typically closes its markup of the bill to the public, often citing the classified information the committee discusses.

"We believe the American public would be well served if the committee allowed them to see their lawmakers at work," wrote Kathleen Hunter, chairwoman of the Standing Committee, which includes reporters from The Washington Post, Bloomberg and The Associated Press.

The reporters also argued that the House Armed Services Committee held its markup in open session.

In response, a spokesman for the committee said an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the panel voted last week to hold a closed markup, as Republican and Democratic chairmen have done in the past.

The Senate committee is expected to begin work on the bill next week.

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