Television network C-SPAN has requested regular access to the House chamber after it was granted unprecedented access to the floor last week in what turned out to be a turbulent and emotionally charged House speaker vote last week.
In a letter (pdf) to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), C-SPAN CEO Susan Swain asked that the network be allowed to have continued coverage of the House floor on behalf of both the network and congressionally accredited news organizations.
“During last week’s speaker election, C-SPAN was permitted to bring its own cameras into the chamber,” Swain wrote. “The public, press, and member reaction to C-SPAN’s coverage—along with the ‘transparency’ themes in your new rules package—have encouraged us to resubmit a request we have made to your predecessors without success.”
Swain noted that the network is not asking to replace the existing House recording camera but instead to “install a few additional cameras in the House chamber.”
“When mixed with the existing House production, shots from our camera would allow us to create a second journalistic product, just as we did last week … If ongoing daily coverage of sessions by C-SPAN is not acceptable to the Congress, we request that you at least revisit the rules and permit C-SPAN and other independent journalists to cover key legislative sessions,” Swain wrote.
The CEO also noted that there is a “move among some members for a resolution that would relax the rules used by the House Recording Studio.”
Gaetz Introduces Amendment Allowing C-SPAN Cameras on House Floor
Typically, C-SPAN and other media outlets are only able to bring in outside cameras to the chambers during rare occasions, such as the latest House speaker election and State of the Union addresses, among a few others.
Once those events are over, C-SPAN and other outlets resume operating a feed from the House/government-operated cameras. The House speaker typically dictates the camera and media policy.
Gaetz’s amendment would require the speaker of the House to allow C-SPAN to broadcast the floor proceedings of the House via a minimum of four cameras.
“I’ve received a lot of feedback from constituents about how interesting it was and that you were able to see in real-time how our government is functioning, what alliances are being created, what discussions are being had, what animated moments drive the action,” Gaetz told Fox News. “And the pool view of the Congress is antiquated and a little boomer-fied.”
Gaetz added that “there are moments of bipartisanship and collegiality that occur every day, and the country doesn’t get to see those.”
Elsewhere, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) wrote in a tweet this week that he plans to introduce legislation requiring House cameras to continue to capture the full chamber and “not just what the speaker wants.”
Republicans took control of what was previously a Democrat-controlled house this month.
The Epoch Times has contacted C-SPAN for comment.
McCarthy was elected the 55th speaker of the House of Representatives n the early morning hours of Jan. 7, following an often exhausting 15 rounds of voting. The Republican won the speakership with 216 votes—just one vote more than the 215 he needed to win.