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GOP Faces Swift Backlash Over 'Disturbing' Press Crackdown in Senate

Critics warn move to limit press access could be related to the Republicans' secrecy on Trumpcare

Jake Johnson

"This is Senate GOP trying to hide from their terrible health care bill. America—demand answers," wrote Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Senate Republicans sparked immediate outrage from members of the media, civil libertarians, and lawmakers on Tuesday by announcing what are being called "strict new rules" barring reporters from interviewing senators in the hallways of the Capitol.

This news comes shortly after it was revealed on Monday that the GOP will keep its Trumpcare deliberations in the dark for as long as possible before the bill goes to a vote.

"Television reporters will now need permission from senators, the Senate Rules Committee, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms or the Senate Radio and TV Gallery, depending on location, before conducting an on-camera interview with a senator anywhere in the Capitol or in the Senate office buildings, according to a Senate official familiar with the matter," The Hill summarized.

Mike Mastrian announced the new rules to reporters early Tuesday, Politico noted, and backlash was quick to follow.

In a statement, ACLU Political Director Faiz Shakir said the rules violate "the core values of our democracy."

"Closing the shutters now, while Congress is secretly considering a bill that would cause over 20 million people to lose health insurance, is utterly unreasonable and flies in the face of the First Amendment," he concluded.

Reporters responded to the "crackdown" with a mixture of incredulity and anger.

Democratic lawmakers weighed in, as well.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) connected the reported rules to the GOP's healthcare secrecy, tweeting, "Huh? Maybe worried you will catch the group of guys writing health care bill in back room somewhere."


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WHO, South Africa Urge Nations to Lift 'Naive' Omicron Travel Bans

"The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic."

Brett Wilkins ·


EU Joins Rights Group in Condemning Israel's 'Day of Destruction' of Palestinian Homes

"Demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace."

Brett Wilkins ·


GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

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