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C-SPAN pleads with Reid, Pelosi to open final drafting sessions for Obama's healthcare bill (Updated)

LambBrianCSPANEdtd

As every sentient American citizen knows, Brian Lamb is the ever-calm, always inquisitive, consummately polite host of decades of interviews on the essential C-SPAN that should be on the Favorites list of every voter's remote TV control.

As America's Alistair Cooke, Brian Lamb has interviewed every person that Larry King never heard of.

But today Brian Lamb was acting as CEO of C-SPAN. He released a plea he had quietly sent to the leaders of Congress late last month (full text below), asking that they please, please open to his cameras the meetings to craft the final consensus version of the gazillion-dollar healthcare bill that President Obama wants so very badly.

As The Ticket reported here this morning, Senate Democrat Harry Reid and House Democrat Nancy Pelosi are inclined to finish up the 2,500-plus-page legislation themselves behind closed doors, skipping the usual Senate-House conference committee that would include those pesky Republicans.

That political pair can do this because American voters collectively handed over to Democrats the....

...combination to the power vaults for the entire city of Washington in November, 2008, believing in change to believe in.

Democracy can be so messy with a second party and the current outnumbered second party has vowed to use every legislative delaying tactic it can conjur to stall the healthcare bill that its members and 52% of the polled public opposes. This is bothersome to Democrats.

That party's leaders meet with Obama at the White House this evening to discuss their endgame strategy to present the bill to him for signing as a sweet Valentine's Day gift or sooner. This end-around conferencing is already set to go smoothly, according to Ryan Grim over at HuffPo.

Not accidentally, media and public attention to that political strategy meeting, which is also behind closed doors, will be minimized by this afternoon's redundant presidential statement on national security, again recounting his administration's lapses in the Christmas underwear incident and his determination to order an end to such things while still closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Lamb's openness plea was diplomatically addressed to congressional leaders of both parties, although the Republican ones don't really matter currently. Lamb wrote:

As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.

The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool....

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. 

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....

(UPDATE: Those who agree with Lamb's request now have a Facebook Fan page here to express their support.)

(UPDATE No. 2: House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio replied to Lamb's letter, enthusiastically accepting the broadcaster's offer. The full text is available here.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Brian Lamb's letter to congressional leaders:

December 30, 2009

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Harry Reid, Majority Leader, United States Senate

The Honorable John Boehner, Minority Leader, United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader, United States Senate


Dear Speaker Pelosi:
         Representative Boehner:
         Senator Reid:
         Senator McConnell:

As your respective chambers work to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate health care bills, C-SPAN requests that you open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage.

The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of these sessions LIVE and in their entirety. We will also, as we willingly do each day, provide C-SPAN’s multi-camera coverage to any interested member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.
   
Since the initial introduction of the America’s Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate
C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, mark ups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see.  And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives.  

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.  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.

We hope you will give serious consideration to this request. We are most willing to employ the latest digital technology to make the cameras, lights and microphones as unobtrusive as possible.

Please contact me if I can answer any questions.

Sincerely,

/s/ Brian Lamb

Photo: C-SPAN

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

The comments to this entry are closed.

"Yes we can"
"Change"
"We will broadcast those healthcare negotiations on CSPAN so Americans can see...."

Alas, no we can't. There must be much to be proud of in those closed door negotiations. The man who declared CSPAN openess with arrogant confidence stands silent tonight as, in darkness, Congress robs taxpayers of their hard earned wages to bribe corrupt politicians from moderate states. The buying of votes to pass a bill that cannot stand on principle or in open negotiation. Citizens of Nebraska saw their corrupt senator for what he was. A man devoid of integrity who accepted the premise that all other states should fund his state's medicaid program...for ever. And the esteemed senator from Louisianna, who prostituted her credibility by accepting a $300,000,000 bribe for her vote. I wonder who else now accepts taxpayer funded bribes behind closed doors in purchasing a yes vote? So Mr President, Speakers of the House and Senate, as you bribe your way to a final vote, please know that you represent all that is wrong in this country. For the party of Robert Kennedy functions as a state sponsored Mafia, with all the dishonor that comes with bribery, deception, and patent corruption.

Brian is either stupid or naive. There is no way that anything close to tranparency can occur with this Abamanation health care bill. The bribes to lawmakers, chicanery, threats to Democrat holdouts, backdoor deals to insurance companies, sell out to lawyers, huge financial deficits and destruction of our present healthcare system. Grandma suck it up and die, our actuaries say that you've lived long enough Adios and on another subject your estate will be taxed to the hilt. The doors will be shut tight and Nancy, Harry, Chuck and Rahm will cobble a bill that not only destroys our health but also deplete our pockets.

Thanks again, 52%. You sold us for some "hope and change" and what we're getting is the same old statist crap. So very, very, naive.

Dodd and Dorgan aren't running again, while Reid, Lincoln, and Landrieu will lose their re-election bids. But none of them will suffer -- gold-plated pensions, Cadillac health plans, and plum jobs as lobbyists await all of them.

No servant of the American people should ever be able to exempt themselves from what they impose on the American people. Ever. Some animals are not better than others.

"Every sentient American citizen" is familiar with Brian Lamb? Really? I consider myself reasonably intelligent, fairly well-informed, certainly sentient... and I'd never heard of Brian Lamb before reading this article. I'm sure he's wonderful, I just couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at this statement.

But maybe it's me; let me take a quick poll around the office...

...nope. Zero out of sixteen of my co-workers were able to tell me who Brian Lamb is. Either a certain LAT blogger needs to get out more, or a lot of us need to stay in more. Probably both.

This is what we get for letting media cheerleading influence so many voters. Oh, how they told us that BHO was "change," a scholar (despite no publications), an intellectual (despite no evidence other than an affirmative action-influenced Harvard degree), post-racial (despite his former church and some passages in his awful books).

This can be the dedade of decline for America and BHO is the omen. Harry Reid (dirty real estate deals) and Nancy Pelosi (ditto, for her husband) have got theirs, so they don't really care what happens to America.

Since they won't let C-SPAN in, C-SPAN should devote the entire time they are in conference to a message stating that C-SPAN was not allowed to cover the conference overlaying a continuous loop of President Obama stating that all deliberations would be done openly on C-SPAN.


(Pretty good idea. I'll pass it on to C-SPAN.)

So who is surprised at this besides the news media?

This is the way Chicago city government operates, a fact well known to all of us who once lived there or still do.

Thanks in part to the grossest media malpractice in decades, we elected a man who came from the depths of that corrupt, authoritarian cesspool.

Article very conveniently leaves out mention that this is being done because Pres. Obama promised to open these negotiations to the American people while he was agressively seeking their vote. I know, I know. Politicians say lots of things while campaigning that they never ever follow through on, but the media's assisting this administration in pulling off these lies like they never happen is shameful. Perhaps the media should join the Obama administration in looking up the word "transparency!" Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Nope. Not gonna happen, Mr. Obama.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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