January 5th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
5 years ago

Boehner backs move to open health care talks to media

House Minority Leader John Boehner said Tuesday that he supports C-SPAN's efforts to broadcast health care negotiations.
House Minority Leader John Boehner said Tuesday that he supports C-SPAN's efforts to broadcast health care negotiations.

Washington (CNN) - The top Republican in the House of Representatives is backing a move by C-SPAN to allow television coverage of House-Senate health care reform negotiations.

In a December 30 letter to Democratic and Republican congressional leadership, C-SPAN Chairman Brian Lamb requested that they "open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage."

C-SPAN is a non-profit cable entity largely devoted to coverage of Congress.

House Minority Leader John Boehner supports C-SPAN's move, saying "hard-working families won't stand for having the future of their health care decided behind closed doors."

"Secret deliberations are a breeding ground for more of the kickbacks, shady deals and special-interest provisions that have become business as usual in Washington. Too much is at stake to have a final bill built on payoffs and pork-barrel spending," added Boehner, in a letter to Lamb that was released Tuesday.

Democrats say it's impossible to predict what kind of media coverage might be possible, given that it is unclear at best if there will be any formal negotiations between the House and Senate to merge the two chambers' health care reform bills into one piece of legislation.

"We will continue to keep the American people informed," said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a member of the House Democratic leadership.

"There has never been a more open process for any legislation," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But "we will do what is necessary to pass the bill."

Pelosi and Van Hollen spoke to reporters Tuesday, after huddling with other House Democratic leaders.

Top Democrats are prepared to short-circuit the traditional legislative process and exclude their GOP counterparts during final congressional health care deliberations, senior Democratic sources have told CNN. Democrats are trying to prevent the Republicans from using Senate rules to slow the push for final passage of a comprehensive reform bill, the sources added.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs refused to weigh in on Lamb's request, saying he had not read the letter.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended the Democrats' transparency record during the health care debate, and dismissed Republican criticism as hypocritical. He did not indicate any shift in the senator's decision.

"Senator Reid appreciates C-SPAN's commitment to ensuring transparency and we will continue to work to ensure that the American people have access to the work of their elected representatives," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in a Tuesday statement.

Manley suggested the drafting of health care reform legislation "has set new standards for transparency," and slammed the GOP: "(W)hat should truly concern the American people is the Republicans' shamelessly transparent strategy to stop reform at all costs by relying on misinformation and myths. Their ploys are broadcast on C-SPAN for all of America to see, as much of it happens on the Senate floor."

–CNN's Dana Bash, Alan Silverleib, Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • John Boehner
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. joel palmer

    GOP hates this bill for one reason only; it will work and people will like it.

    Just like Social Security and Medicare, the GOP will spend the next couple of decades trying to gut it or get rid of it and will fail;

    then they will claim it was their idea

    January 5, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. Bob (Illinois)

    John Boehner is full of undiluted horse puckey!

    January 5, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. Mickey

    Boehner, you had your chance, along with every other Republican politician who decided that rather than face the Wrath of Rush, you'd all become obstructionists in U.S. government. You, sir, are a traitor to the American people.

    GOP: Still not Evolving...

    January 5, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Willy Brown

    Folks what you have in Congress and the W.H. is nothing more than old hippie liberals and an empty suit ushered in on a guilt vote. 2010 is for hope and 2012 is for change.

    January 5, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Mike in SA

    Remember this? "That's what I will do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors, but bringing all parties together, and broadcasting those negotiations on C-SPAN so that the American people can see what the choices are,"...Barack Obama.

    Mr. President, in the words of Representative Joe Wilson, "You lie!" This bill has been nothing but a series of backroom deals and secret partisan pay-offs designed to keep the details hidden from the citizens of this great country. You've done nothing but bury our choices so that they are out of sight.

    January 5, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. ran

    Why would the GOP want this. They have no intention of supporting anything any way.

    I say to the Democrats open it up and see how fast the Republicans shut up.

    I for one in 2010 and 2012 will not be feared/hated or obstructionated into voting for a Republican. Who out is with me. Tell the Republicans we will no longer allow their tactics to bring our country down any more.

    January 5, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    The Right-wing has had a year to participate in shaping health care reform, instead all they have done is issue talking points among themselves, and adopt a strategy of stall tactics. Its beyond time that the Democrats try being bipartisan.

    January 5, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Alicia

    Go get a new tan dude!

    This is so sickening how the Rethugs say NO to TSA head, HHS head, money for unemployment benefits, money for the military and Healthcare. The Republicans only want power and don't care less about suffering Americans.

    Republicans = Male, Pale and Stale (Pale does not apply to the suntan king Boner)

    January 5, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Gary

    Perhaps Boenher can make a TV show about his knowledge of the Constitution. That should get him an Emmy for Comedy.

    January 5, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Annie

    The repblicans don't want Heath Care Reform.......they don't care if you or I have a Health Care Plan so if this plan fails and you come down with Cancer and died (Thats the fault of the Republican Party).......they want the wars to continue but do their sons and daughters go to fight in these Wars? No but they want you poor suckers to keep sending your sons and daughters over and over again so their children won't have to go fight in the Wars.........they don't want Obama to spend all this money to get our country back on track but if they were in charge they would be spending Trillions on the Wars and not just the 2 we are engaged in now but we would be in Iran, N. Korea, and every other country that would possibly be a threat to this World........Were tired of you Republicans and your constant stonewalling and complaining and blaming, and lying, and your corrupt ways of doing things.......

    January 5, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. susie

    Obama said, during the election, he would put it on C-span. Why
    won't people hold him accountable?

    January 5, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. JR

    You Reeps had yer chance .... time to get er dunn...

    January 5, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Joseph Buttacavli

    that stupid obama said himself that it would be on C-Span so why not mr. Obama, it will read this way America born on 1776 and it died on nov 4 2008

    January 5, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    This is an awful lot of our money the Democrats are getting ready to spend for a program that:
    1. Will actually increase unemployment because of the higher taxes on busineses.
    2. Will increase the cost of health care faster than it is increasing already.
    3. Will decrease the quality of health care for years since the system is not set up to work with these new plans, and
    4. Increases the likelihood of fraud in healthcare. If anyone believes this will not be a significant cost to taxpayers I refer you to Medicare fraud which is one of the countries largest industries. The government is not able to contain this in spite of their best efforts.

    This is just politicians in Federal government thumbing their noses up at middle class Americans who already have it tough enough. They will get this passed regardless of what is in it. I don't blame the Democrats for wanting to make this garbage in the dark.

    January 5, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Joseph Buttacavli

    Obama is nothing but a liar and our country is going straight to the dogs.

    January 5, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. Fred

    It's obvious that Boehner is really upset about that 'tan tax' in the health care bill. He's just beside himself. His orange glow is going to cost him a little extra.

    January 5, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Hey, Obozo PROMISED transparency. So? Let's have the Dummocrats walk the walk.

    January 5, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "There can't be anything more childish and immature than when Democrats say things like "Why do Republicans hate America?""

    Really? And claiming that anybody not an American citizen doesn't fit the description of "all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights"...that's not unAmerican? And blabbering the word "socialism" in an inaccurate and inappropriate manner in response to anything the Dems propose even though it's perfectly analogous to plenty of government services everyone, including you GOPers, take for granted...that's helpful, productive and constructive?

    January 5, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. cobra Montana

    The only ones that like this health care bill are the ones that are on the government tit or in a union some place. The working people do not want this and should not pay for all the bums to get health care, oh we already do.

    January 5, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. sniffit makes me glad to be conservative

    when you have a bill that stinks and doesn't have any support, just slip it buy in the dark of night behind closed doors.

    you sucker libs, your days are numbers with the pieces of work who are running the country into the ground.

    January 5, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Wmscot

    Of coursen he wants it to be on C-Span ! So the party of NO can stall the proceedures and do the theatric for their base. IE: the teabaggers !
    The insurance and drug lobbys are getting their bang for their bucks !

    January 5, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. angel

    Congress can do whatever they want to do with this bill. However, it is 2010 and Nov. will come and then it will be the American people's turn.
    Democrats will paid dearly for what they are doing today to us. It had been said over and over again that the majority of us would like to see some kind of reforms, but not the present bill as it had been written.

    January 5, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Biased

    Republicans like the rest of us would love to see what has gone on and what will go on behind the closed doors of the democrats. But democrats and Obama ran on one thing to get elected and now are doing the opposite. They are treating this health care bill in the most secretive way I have seen ever. And for those democrats who say republicans are the party of no but have been invited to participate – how do you sleep at night pushing such garbage as your version of the truth? Now you know why so many democrats are becoming independents.

    January 5, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. Susan

    Oh my ... doesn't anyone read the history books. It was the democrats who gave us medicare & social security ... the republicans were screaming & whinning then also.

    January 5, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. diridi

    they must pass it with public option...then talk...idiots, thugs, and skit....ok...care for the nation....not money...ok idiots...GOP wake up....

    January 5, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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