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Democrat Backs C-SPAN Broadcast of Health Debate

(AP Photo/Dick Whipple)
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri has joined Republicans in calling for negotiations to reconcile the Senate and House versions of health care reform legislation to be broadcast on C-SPAN.

House Speaker Nanci Pelosi, backed by the White House, has said the House and Senate were putting the final bill together "behind closed doors according to an agreement by top Democrats."

Republicans, noting that President Obama promised full transparency during his presidential campaign, have attacked that plan.

"The negotiations are obviously being done in secret and the American people really just want to know what they are trying to hide," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

Now McCaskill has joined the critics on the other side of the aisle. After noting that hundreds of hours of debate over the bill have already been broadcast, she said in a statement that "it's my opinion that we should open up any further negotiations between the House and the Senate to C-SPAN so the public can watch."

"I believe that the best way for these negotiations to occur is through the conference committee process, and I have communicated my opinion to the leadership of my party in the Senate," she said.

Democratic leaders want to pass the bill as quickly as possible, and they fear that the presence of cameras during the final negotiations could lead to a slowdown in the process.

They also are freezing Republicans out of the negotiations because the GOP is virtually united in its opposition to the bill and has sought to stall passage.

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