Reid, Pelosi Ought To Let The Sunshine In
by Andre Walker, Sun Jan 10, 2010 at 03:33:16 AM EST
Created in 1979, the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (or C-SPAN as it is more popularly known) is a must for concerned citizens wanting to keep tabs on what lawmakers are doing in Washington. Since its inception three decades ago, countless hours of congressional hearings, political conventions and rallies, debates, and other public affairs events have appeared on the C-SPAN networks in a pure, uncut and unfiltered manner.
Recently, C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb sent a letter to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders requesting that C-SPAN's cameras be allowed into the final negotiations of the 2,000-page, multi-billion dollar health care bill.
Lamb's letter, which was sent to most media outlets including the blogs, said that reforming the nation's health care system affects every American and as such should be televised in order to further facilitate a transparent discussion on health care reform.
When pressed by reporters to respond to Mr. Lamb's request, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hemmed and hawed then passed on C-SPAN's request. Republicans, on the other hand, welcomed the cameras of C-SPAN with open arms.
In response to questions posed to them on my blog, Georgia Politics Unfiltered, both Sens. Chambliss and Isakson expressed disappointment in the backroom negotiations that's tainted the debate on this important issue. 6th district Congressman Tom Price pointed to President Obama's campaign promise of broadcasting the health care talks on C-SPAN in plain view of the American people.
"If the Democrats aren’t engaging in more nefarious backroom deal-making, why do they refuse to pull back the curtains and let the public see what’s going on?," Price correctly asked. "What are they doing that they don’t want us to see?"
The office of Congressman Lynn Westmoreland was more blunt:
"No excuses. Put health talks on TV," a Westmoreland news release said.
Openness, honesty and transparency should not be a political football. Both Democrats and Republicans should unequivocally open up government and let the sunshine in. These days, however, Democrats seem more interested in passing a bill than fulfilling their campaign pledge of leading the "most honest, most open and most ethical" government in history. And that's a shame.
[EDITOR'S NOTE]: Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is the only Democrat to date that has called for C-SPAN cameras to broadcast the final health care negotiations [Montopoli, Brian (2010-1-8). Democrat Backs C-SPAN Broadcast of Health Debate. CBS News. Retrieved on 2010-1-10.].