January 5th, 2010
04:34 PM ET
4 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. Busyflora

    Hey you guys when are you gonna wake up and see the truth about Obama, He wants to take this country down, open up your eyes and minds, then you would see that he does the very opposite of what he says in just about everything. I agree he makes it sound so good but just take a good look at what he is doing. are you glad your taxes are gonna go up? are you glad you are gonna have to buy health insurance and the premiums are gonna go up because of the preexisting condition mandates on the insurance companies, can you afford to pay $8,000.00 or more a year for health insurance? I sure can't. Wake up and check out the facts before you side with anyone.

    January 5, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Chipster

    Of course, Boehner never objected to the 6 years of secrecy when Republicans were passing legislation to block constitutional liberties and support violations of multiple constitutional Amendments.

    Now, he wants to create a dog and pony show out of the effort to provide desperate citizens with basic healthcare. I suggest legislation that requires elected officials to pay for their own healthcare coverage. Cancel their current benefits and see what private insurers make of their pre-existing conditions!

    January 5, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Ed Fl

    Hopefully Bohner will have more Media participents then the Dems had GOP participents in providing a health bill that could/could not be for or against the American public need. Bohner as the leader of the NO NO party only says yes to his Cstreet comrades and tanning tubs.

    January 5, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. ronvan

    Has ANYONE actually read the entire bill, and even understands what is in it? Sure I would love to watch open hearings, on EVERYTHING, except for national security issues. The problem is that you would see just how juvenile our leaders are, on both sides, but you still would not see the back door dealings, and money exchanging to buy votes. Now that I think of it we could get more entertainment and understanding by watching Big Bird & friends!

    January 5, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. bobby

    I wish I can take back my vote. This is said anything just to get elected. He promised open debate to the public but now he wants no public debate. This guy is a joke. I'm sorry everyone that I voted for Obama!

    January 5, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    In other words, the Dems want to keep up the shady deal-making, bribes, and intimidation, to impose on American citizens a kind of health-care tyranny.

    January 5, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. T'SAH from Virginia

    Why – so they can act like ASHES on camera???? The only ones that would watch are the ones who don't work............ for example........... Our Senior Citizens???????? This would give the RepubliCAN'Ts an opportunity to scare my mother to DEATH – oh yea, they do believe in DEATH PANELS!!!!!!

    January 5, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Like he wasn't involved with the banning of Democrats from commitees and so forth when the republicants were in charge.

    January 5, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. m smith

    This would be nice but I am afraid the repos would just use the air time to politic and not get anything done. Not that they have. I don't want to listen to these blow hards waste time befor the camaras. And that i fear is just what they will do.

    January 5, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Ms. Callahan....just sayin'

    I'm with him on this CSPAN should show the debate..and let the citizens hear it all...besides the Presdient said in his own words that he would do this! A man's word counts for something, right?

    January 5, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Joe

    Face thr truth. This will never make TV. The reason is that the helath plan will be shoved donw Americans throats. Pelopse and Reed the deed are only going to let Democrats in the process. What a great transperacy promised by Obama. It does not matter that the majority of the American people are satisfied with their health care coverage or that the majority do not want this plan. The liberal/socialist Democrats will shove it down out throats. They do not want to televize the corruption and the bribes that they will give to certain states for certain Senators(Melson and Lnadrius). Wake up America. The elections are just around the corner.... Independents unite.

    January 5, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  12. change we can believe in ???

    "Boehner backs move to open health care talks to media"

    Well, the "agent of change" PROMISED that in the campaign. The "agent of change" promised us a new, TRANSPARENT and ETHICAL administration of ..."change." Do you remember it ???????

    January 5, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. BJ in NC

    Johyn BHoehner-still talking loud and saying nothing.

    January 5, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. Keeth in California

    That's a great idea for all bills regardless of which party is in control. Boehner could show a true spine if he endorsed this idea, otherwise he's just pandering for political points and he really doesn't care.

    January 5, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Common Sense

    Why are the Democrats so reluctant to let the people know what is in the bill? Forget the rhetoric, which means nothing. What is in the bill? All of you knuckleheads so in favor of the bill have no idea either as you are relying on the political rhetoric.

    If they were truly proud of the contents of the bill, they would not be hiding behind closed doors. If this process does not scare you, you are either not paying attention or are suffering from a Kool-Ade overdose.

    January 5, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Tony in Maine

    Secret is a loaded word, Palm Springs John. Quiet is much better and far more accurate where intent is concerned.

    It was the constant grandstanding for the videocams by you and Chinless Mitch that led to delays and made it obvious that there was NO reform your masters could accept.

    It's past time to cut you and the health care industry out of the loop and get get something done for the people – not the gang that controls your strings.

    January 5, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. Trang, Fremont, CA

    I am all for it. I am for transparency. I want to know what they are talking about and what deals are they making.

    January 5, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. terry,va

    T.V coverage is the only way the Repubs will know what is going on. Give the American people the chance to see your arm twisting Obummie. We might be able to use it on the docks when we make loans.

    January 5, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. SHOE ON THE OTHER FOOT

    The Republican Party is just a gang of HYPOCRITES

    January 5, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  20. ctinsd

    When the thugs were in office, AKA Republicans, they didnt even allow the dems to bring any bills to the floor! They made us have our meetings in the basement of the US Capitol... they could care less... I will never forget how they treated Democrats...as if they were lepers. Well, thugs...the foot is on the other shoe! You all are hypocrites to the highest degree! John Boehner you are nothing more than a puppet for the xtreme right wing of your philandering party and your job is just to say No. Well...Boehner...your request or suggestion has been DENIED. By the way were are all the recordings of your secret meetings with your fellow thugs... I want to hear them! You all are a bunch of disgraced idiots and I will work very hard in 2010 and 2012 to make sure we never go back to an era or irresponsibily, ARROGANCE and SUPERIORITY. Go away please...!!!!

    January 5, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. valwayne

    Obama promised that Health Care talks would be open to all to watch on CSPAN. So far he's broken his promise and lied and the result is unbelievable levels of corruption including the Louisiana Purchase and Cornhusker Kickback. If there is an ounce of honesty left in Obama he needs to put this final part of the process on CSPAN. Mr. President...the entire country is waiting to see you partially keep your promise!!!

    January 5, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  22. mjm

    Do the libs on hear ever bother to read the article first?

    The request is to open" all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage" so that we, the people, get to hear how this so called reform turns out.
    Republicans are still excluded from process....as unconstitutional as that may be.

    So not only do the Democrats want to lock out Republicans, they want to lock everyone else out as well.....because the bill is that bad.

    If I were a democrat, I would be disgusted....and a loser.

    January 5, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Debbie

    LOL. Boehner has been part of secret deliberations for years. So he would know about "kickbacks, shady deals and special-interest provisions."

    As far as pork barrel spending...the reps in my region are all Republican's and the local newspapers were full of the earmarks (pork) that our reps got. So pork goes both ways.

    January 5, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. File under "Sarcasm"

    Well the looney left is out in force here. Rather than discussing the issue and Obama's campaign promise to change things in Washington by adding more transparency to the legislative process, all they have to say is "Bush didn't do it so nah nah nah to you".

    January 5, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. Louis

    As I live in OH, I too wish I could vote John the Tan out of office as well.

    He is an embrassment to OH!!!

    January 5, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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