Politics

Transparency, transparency, wherefore art thou?

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Congressional leaders are planning to hold “secret” meetings instead of the traditional public conference committee hearings to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the health care insurance reform bills.

While the GOP has reacted with expected outrage, the proposed “new system” of “private meetings” is generating some concern from the traditional media, as ABC News reports:

The C-SPAN television network is calling on congressional leaders to open health care talks to cameras — something President Barack Obama promised as a candidate.

Instead the most critical negotiations on Obama’s health plan have taken place behind closed doors, as Republicans repeatedly point out. In a Dec. 30 letter to House and Senate leaders released Tuesday, C-SPAN chief executive Brian Lamb asked for negotiations on a compromise bill to be opened up for public viewing, as Democrats work to reconcile differences between legislation passed by the two chambers.

The C-SPAN letter (pdf file) is a pretty straight forward request. It makes you wonder, what are the Democrats trying to hide?

As ABC News sums up:

Obama pledged during a presidential debate in January 2008 that he would be “bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are.”

Will the Democrats live up to their promises for openness, or will they continue to draft legislation in the back room?

Cross-posted to FrankHagan.com