14
Jul

House Dems seek to allow independent cameras





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The one-page proposal, introduced by Rep. Ami Bera, would be a dramatic shift away from current policy, | AP Photo

Democrats are pushing to bring a little more transparency to the People’s House, at least when it comes to the cameras that broadcast the chamber’s daily business.

House Democrats introduced a resolution Tuesday night pushing to change the rules to allow independent broadcasts, a direct response to Republicans shutting off the chamber’s cameras during Democrats’ day-long gun control sit-in last month.

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The one-page proposal, introduced by Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), would be a dramatic shift away from current policy, which gives the House speaker control of the video feed broadcast via C-SPAN.

“As the events of last month demonstrated, in today’s connected world the public will not stand for censorship,” Bera wrote in a Dear Colleague letter soliciting support for the plan. “Allowing independent, non-partisan cameras is critical for transparency and is an important tool to hold elected officials accountable.”

C-Span went viral during the Democratic occupation, breaking new ground and catapulting into the public consciousness when the network opted to broadcast lawmakers’ grainy livestreams even after Republicans shut off the cameras.

Congressional control of floor action has been a ongoing frustration for C-SPAN, which has pushed to have its own cameras since the mid-1980s.

“Despite repeated requests from the press, House rules prohibit all outside video cameras and provide complete discretion to the Speaker on when to operate cameras. Taxpayers deserve to see a full, non-partisan view of how the government operates,” Bera wrote.