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January 5th, 2010 11:30 am
C-SPAN Chief Dares Congressional Dems to Televise Final Health Care Negotiations

Remember back in 2006 when then soon-to-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised that Democrats would “lead the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history?” What about the repeated promises by then Candidate Obama to “broadcast [all health care] negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are?”

Of course, when it came time to “debate” health care, neither Pelosi nor Obama kept their promises.  Instead, both leaders have steered a process that has resulted in all variations of “reform” thus far being written behind closed doors, out of sight from the American people and with virtually no input from Congressional Republicans. 

As the Associated Press pointed out:

The House passed its version of the bill on a Saturday night. The Senate held its key procedural vote at 1 in the morning, and then provided a lump of coal in our stockings by forcing full passage of its bill on Christmas Eve. The House leadership banned consideration of all but one amendment not offered by leadership itself – forbidding debate on more than 150 of them – then provided just 24 hours for members to study the bill’s final text. The Senate leadership inserted so many tawdry last-minute items that analysts are still finding jokers in the deck 11 days later.

All these shenanigans have driven approval for the government health care bills even lower in public polls than the strong majorities that already opposed them a month ago.

Well, C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb is now daring Congressional Democrats to put their money where their mouths are. 

FoxNews.com reports:

The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.

C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb wrote to leaders in the House and Senate Dec. 30 urging them to open ‘all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings,’ to televised coverage on his network.

‘The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of the sessions LIVE and in their entirety,’ he wrote.

There’s only one problem.  Holding true to their back-room strategy, Congressional Democrats are reportedly going to shut Republicans and the American people out of the process again as they seek to combine the House and Senate versions of “reform.”  Maggie Haberman and Charles Hurt of the New York Post reported today:

Congressional Democrats plan to take final negotiations on the massive health-care overhaul behind closed doors — far from the prying eyes of the public and most lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have decided not to impanel a bipartisan ‘conference committee’ because it would give Republicans an opportunity to stonewall certain procedural votes.

Instead, they will do it themselves informally out of their offices without formal public meetings.

And they wonder why the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose their plan … whatever that final plan may be.

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