Wednesday, January 6, 2010

C-SPAN Rejected by Administration to bring transparency to the Conference Committee process

During the race for the Democrat nomination Sen. Barack Obama pledged that he would "have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." Well, C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb took, then Sen. Obama, seriously and offered C-SPAN services to air the conference committee proceedings as leaders in the House and Senate look to merge the health care reform bills. The letter that CEO Lamb sent can be seen here: http://www.c-span.com/pdf/C-SPAN%20Health%20Care%20Letter.pdf. The offer by C-SPAN includes all the hardware to show all sessions "LIVE and in their entirety" while giving complete access to all footage to any "member of the Capitol Hill broadcast pool."

In so many words, the Obama administration, Sen. Reid, and Rep. Pelosi are saying thank you but no thank you. The latest report on C-SPAN's webpage, http://www.c-span.com/Topics/Health-Care-Insurance-Reform-Legislation-Town-Hall.aspx, that "the leadership is considering bypassing a formal conference committee in resolving differences between House and Senate versions of the legislation." Now, why is there not more public outcry by Americans or the mass media? The potential passage of health care reform will have massive implications to every American. Shouldn't Obama be held to his pledge of keeping the negotiations open and "televised on C-SPAN"?

Why are we so content on sitting idly by and watch the majority party dictate reform to America? What are they hiding? Will another Nebraska deal come through the pipeline? Perhaps Rep. Pelosi has it right about Obama when she said, "There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail" (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31180.html). Is this what we are to accept as free citizens of the United States a secret government that has expanded its power and reach into the free market? It's about accountability and by Congressional leaders and President Obama no televising the conference committee sessions and potentially skipping the conference committee process all together, why are more Americans not enraged by the trampling of the process?

I was told a long time ago that a man is only as good as his word. What does this tell us about those that run our country? What does that tell us about our society that accepts it?