C-SPAN wants to shed light on health negotiations


The House has a health bill and the Senate has a health bill, and the two have to be brought into agreement before moving on to the White House. The process for doing this – reconciliation – is one of the murkiest on Capitol Hill. But this time, C-SPAN wants its mics and cameras recording the deliberations.

Republicans in particular are interested in opening up the proceedings. In all fairness, calls for open reconciliation generally come not from one party or the other, but from whichever party is currently on the minority side of the aisle.

RBR-TVBR observation: We don’t care which party has the upper hand for the moment. We’re for as much open government as possible. It’s ours – let us see what’s going on.

We say this within reason. Ours is a representative democracy – on some level we have to trust our elected officials and their aides to work on our behalf. Otherwise, we have a government comprised of upwards of 300M people. It’s hard enough getting the current 535 on the same page. Sometimes meetings have to take place in the cloakroom and elsewhere.

But there are many other murky areas on the Hill – indeed, many times what we get to see in the committee rooms and on the main floors of each chamber is the elected officials playing out mere theater based on the closed-door work of their staffers.

But reconciliation can be amazing – members of the House and Senate committees go into a room to work on Topic A, and come out with a bill that includes hitherto undebated elements related to Topic A, not to mention language addressing completely unrelated Topics B, C and D.

It’s all done in private, and nobody knows how and why who put what into where.

We want to know. Let the press in.