Now that Democrats have health reform bills in both the House and Senate, reports indicate they are avoiding procedural steps and bypassing a formal conference committee to prevent Republicans from stalling deliberations – but C-SPAN is demanding that they open health-care negotiations to television cameras.
Brian Lamb, C-SPAN CEO, called for live coverage of the sessions in their entirety.
“President Obama, Senate and House leaders, many of your rank-and-file members, and the nation’s editorial pages have all talked about the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation’s health care system,” Lamb wrote in a Dec. 30 letter to congressional leaders. “Now that the process moves to the critical stage of reconciliation between the Chambers, we respectfully request that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American.”
The following is Lamb’s letter:
Democrats may be negotiating informally to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills and evade several steps – especially a sequence of special motions in the Senate, each calling for full debate before a vote. They plan to deliver legislation to Obama within weeks and hope to secure passage before the annual State of the Union address to Congress.
During his campaign, Obama blasted the Clinton administration for negotiating a health-care plan behind closed doors.
While at a campaign stop in Virginia, Obama said, “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”
The following is a video posted on YouTube of Obama stating he will televise the health-care debate:
When the Senate passed its bill on Christmas Eve, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared in his floor speech, “This fight isn’t over. My colleagues and I will work to stop this bill from becoming law.”