In November 2007, President Obama promised that the reform of health care including the negotiations will be open in a public setting, and not behind closed doors. He even suggested that they would be broadcast live on CSPAN and streamed live over the net. In fact he said they needed to be open because that’s why Hillarycare was defeated.
Both the president and the congress have been Ignoring that promise, because transparency is the last thing they want. Throughout the Health Care debate, preferring instead to Ram a bill down out throats, with provisions that would make the American People’s heads explode if they knew what was in it. Those earmarks and bribes, or the provision that the bill cannot be changed are just a few examples of what was put into the senate bill at the last minute.
Last week the head of CSPAN, chief executive Brian Lamb, sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for the reconciliation process to be broadcast on the the network to keep the process transparent.
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Harry Reid
Speaker Majority Leader
United States House or Representatives United States Senate
The Honorable John Boehner The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives United States Senate
Dear Speaker Pelosi:
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.
So far Congress is ignoring the request, preferring to toil away in secrecy because, lets face it, they know what we need better than we do (or that’s what they believe).
Mary Katherine Hamm of the Weekly Standard puts it this way:
For a bill that’s faced a thousand p.r. obstacles in its legislative marathon, the coalescing conventional wisdom suggests this last effort to get it over the finish line may shape up to be another obstacle itself. And even if it works, which it very well may, the president will have to chalk up another chunk of political capital and another huge chink in his reputation as an honest, change agent.
And then she points out:
Oops, probably not the best day for David Plouffe to send out an e-mail to Obama supporters about how 2010 will be a year to “improve transparency in Washington to elevate the voices of the American people.”
Is there is no end to the Hubris of the Democratic Party