GOP Pushes for Rules Committee Cameras

Posted October 26, 2009 at 1:15pm

Updated: 2:50 p.m.A moderate House Republican is asking that cameras be installed inside the Rules Committee hearing room so that the public can witness the panel’s proceedings. Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.) introduced a resolution Friday urging the installation and said the cameras would help increase the transparency of the legislative process. “As Congress considers some of the most pivotal policy of our time, the American people deserve full transparency in all legislative proceedings, particularly those of the powerful Rules Committee,— Dent said in a statement. Dent’s resolution is the latest in a series of efforts by Republicans, who are looking to paint the Democratic-led Congress as tyrannical and secretive.The resolution has 61 Republican co-sponsors including Rules ranking member David Dreier (Calif.) and panel members Pete Sessions (Texas), Virginia Foxx (N.C.) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.). “It is unacceptable that they are shut out of the Rules Committee’s critical proceedings,— Dent said. “In the past year, we have seen 300-page amendments offered to the Rules Committee in the middle of the night and key policy proposals rejected on a straight party-line vote without thorough consideration.—Vince Morris, a spokesman for Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), said Democrats have welcomed cameras from C-SPAN and other news outlets at every committee meeting. “Like all Americans, we love C-SPAN and we encourage them to cover each of our meetings,— Morris said. “And it’s worth noting that Rules is far more open under us than it ever was under Republicans.— Morris said permanent cameras installed by the Chief Administration Officer would be a “waste of money— because C-SPAN is welcome to film all proceedings. A spokeswoman for Dreier, the former chairman of the Rules panel, said Republicans began the process of outfitting the committee room for cameras in 2006. “When the Democrats took over as the majority, we had only completed the first phase of the upgrade, the sound system,— said Jo Maney, a spokeswoman for Dreier. “Given the legwork that had already been done, cameras could be installed with little effort.—