C-SPAN Wants More Cameras on House Floor

Network asks McCarthy to amend rules to allow full coverage to continue
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2023 1:05 PM CST
C-SPAN Wants More Cameras on House Floor
Matt Gaetz talks to Kevin McCarthy in the House chamber, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As the House went through its longest speakership election since long before television was invented, C-SPAN was able to show much more of the goings-on in the chamber than usual. That included what producer Ben O'Connell called "extraordinary conversations" and "migrating scrums of congressmen." The public service channel is now seeking to provide that level of coverage on a day-to-day basis instead of just during special events, the Hill reports. C-SPAN CEO Susan Swain has asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to consider amending the rules to allow C-SPAN and other outlets, which are normally restricted to using footage from a single video feed provided by the government, to place independent cameras in the chamber.

Last week, "C-SPAN was permitted to bring its own cameras into the chamber," Swain wrote to McCarthy. "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." She said that instead of replacing the existing House Recording System, C-SPAN would like to "install a few additional cameras in the House chamber," allowing it "to create a second, journalistic product, just as we did last week."

C-SPAN says it hasn't heard from McCarthy yet, though other House Republicans have expressed support, including Majority Leader Steve Scalise, CNN reports. "I think that’d be great," he said. "I think it’s great that the public’s going to be able to see more about the way the government works." Rep. Matt Gaetz, who played a major role in last week's drama, agreed. "Our fellow Americans deserve to know when we are frustrated with one another, kind to one another, present, or absent. The current pool view of the Congress is antiquated and boomer-fied," said Gaetz, who filed a motion Tuesday to allow C-SPAN cameras in the chamber at all times. (Read more C-SPAN stories.)

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