C-SPAN's Lamb to Congress: Open Health Care Debate

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Politico.com

C-SPAN's Lamb to Congress: Open Health Care Debate

by
Michael Calderone

In an image made from C-Span broadcast, Vice President Joe Biden announces the result of the final vote on the Health Care bill in Washington Thursday Dec. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/TV/CSPAN)

C-SPAN chief executive Brian Lamb, who has long fought for more
television access in Congress, is now asking House and Senate
leadership to allow cameras inside while members hammer out differences
between the two health care bills.

Lamb, in a letter dated
Dec. 30 and made available today, requested opening up "all important
negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to
electronic media coverage"

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.

The C-SPAN networks, he wrote, are willing to commit the necessary
resources to cover sessions live and would offer the network's
multi-camera feed to those in the Capitol Hill broadcast pool.

Lamb's full letter to Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner after the jump.

December 30, 2009

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:
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,

Brian Lamb

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