Finally News Media wants access to what Congress is up to

Reports that President Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders have cut a deal to skip a formal Conference on their health care legislation - a flat violation of the President’s promise that such negations would be broadcast on C-SPAN for the American people to see - has provoked outrage across America.

Today, editorial boards from coast to coast weighed in, and - to say the least - they disagree with Speaker Pelosi’s assertion that “There has never been a more open process.”

A roundup of newspaper editorials from Newspapers on January 8th 2010 as follows:

 

Boston Herald: “Let Public in the Room”
"This administration - and Democratic leaders - talk a good game about transparency in government. Now they have an opportunity to practice it.  If they’re going to throw the legislative rulebook out the window, at the very least they could give congressional Republicans a chance to watch the process on TV."

Investor’s Business Daily: “Let the Sun Shine”
"House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called the Democrats’ plan to bypass a conference committee a “shady backroom deal.” An overstatement? Hardly. One House Democratic aide told a blogger that “this process cuts out the Republicans.” The Democrats fear that if they follow the traditional route, the GOP could use the Senate filibuster rule to shut down the process of organizing the committee.

"Bypassing a conference committee also cuts out a public that will suffer losses from whatever monstrosity is produced by the cover of darkness. Americans stand to lose their power of choice over health care decisions and be stripped of a significant portion of their earnings to pay for a plan most don’t want. They deserve to see in an open forum what is being done to them. Instead, they’re likely to get whatever the Democrats want to force on them."

New York Daily News: “Ready for Prime Time”
"Candidate Barack Obama made a straightforward health care reform promise on the campaign trail in 2008: ‘We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so the people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.’  At the time, he hit all the right notes. Populism. Transparency. Good government. But today, President Obama is not quite with the program."

Las Vegas Review-Journal
: “Broken Promise”
"What Americans don’t know — and what they won’t get to see — is how far Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi will go to get what they want. Taxpaying voters will be cut off from the decisive debate on a monstrous increase in consumer costs and federal authority. Can senators and representatives defend the economically impossible concepts they embrace — more health care, lower costs — in spontaneous, free-flowing discussions? Or will they simply push forward a slip of paper with the dollar amount needed to secure their support, as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., already has?"

New York Post: “Dems Against Democracy”
"As DC Democrats slink behind closed doors to craft a final health-care bill — thousands of pages long and sure to sap the nation’s economic future — Americans need to ask: Just what are Dems so ashamed of?  ‘We will do what is necessary to pass the bill,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted, as she and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to forgo a panel to finalize legislation.  Instead, they’ll build their Frankenstein’s monster of a bill in secret, mocking democratic principles all the way."

The Wall Street Journal: “The Tom DeLay Democrats”
"Evading conference has become standard operating procedure in this Congress, though you might think they’d allow for the more open and thoughtful process on what Mr. Obama has called ‘the most important piece of social legislation since the Social Security Act passed in the 1930s and the most important reform of our health-care system since Medicare passed in the 1960s’…Apparently this Congress knows no shame."
 
 
San Francisco Chronicle - Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) hometown paper: “Barack Obama the candidate repeatedly pledged to open the negotiations of health care reform to public examination. Members of our editorial board heard the promise with our own ears….At the time, the idea of gavel-to-gavel coverage seemed a bit gimmicky and fanciful. Would Americans really tune in to follow the arcane and tedious negotiations?  But a promise is a promise…Bring in the cameras.”
 
Nevada:  Las Vegas Review Journal “What Americans don’t know — and what they won’t get to see — is how far Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi will go to get what they want.  Taxpaying voters will be cut off from the decisive debate on a monstrous increase in consumer costs and federal authority.  Can senators and representatives defend the economically impossible concepts they embrace — more health care, lower costs — in spontaneous, free-flowing discussions?  Or will they simply push forward a slip of paper with the dollar amount needed to secure their support, as Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., already has?”
 
Ohio: The Columbus Dispatch “And so, the final form of a health-care overhaul that would profoundly affect the lives of all Americans and massively increase federal intervention in a sixth of the U.S. economy will be decided in private by a handful of people … An average of opinion surveys conducted in the past month by a variety of pollsters shows that fewer than 39 percent of Americans approve of the health-care plans produced by Congress.  Reconciling these plans in the dark seems unlikely to bolster public support for whatever emerges.” 
 
Florida: Panama City News Herald “Legislation that even supporters promote as historic in its scope in reshaping the nation’s health care system deserves full public scrutiny. … Americans already were growing skeptical of health care ‘reform’ because of its massive size and dependence on government control.  But the unseemly way the process has played out — holding votes in the wee hours of the morning and on Christmas Eve, carving out exceptions in the bill for states with fence-sitting lawmakers, etc. — has further driven down public support.”
 
Texas: Dallas Morning News “Congressional supporters of national health care reform call it the most important piece of domestic legislation since the Great Depression.  They should act like they're proud of their work.  Instead, Democratic leaders intend to go underground, meaning the public won't be able to follow the final negotiations between the House and Senate.  That decision couldn't be more wrong-headed, not to mention (take your pick) arrogant, elitist, autocratic, defensive and politically paranoid.”
 
Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer  “One of the most momentous House-Senate negotiations in history shouldn’t take place behind closed doors... C-SPAN and other media were able to cover the debate on these issues as the House and Senate worked on their bills over the last several months. That access shouldn't be shut down, now that the final product is nearly at hand.”
 
Georgia: Athens Banner-Herald “C-SPAN must have access to health negotiations. … What the American people have learned in recent days about the legislative process thus far - particularly with regard to the deals made with recalcitrant senators like Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson and Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu to get their votes, deals that will cost taxpayers in other states millions and millions of dollars - has them paying close attention to those negotiations.  The president should take steps now to honor his pledge of openness in the debate over health care, and should ensure that C-SPAN - and, by extension, the American people - can see live, and in full, exactly what their government is doing.”
 
New Hampshire Union Leader “Remember when Barack Obama promised that health care reform would be hashed out in the open, with C-SPAN cameras present to show the negotiations to the American people?  Well, Washington reporters remember.  On Tuesday, they reminded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about that promise and asked whether she would honor C-SPAN's request to film the closed-door negotiations.  ‘There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail,’ she said of President Obama.”
 
Washinton Times: “Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, candidly told a Jan. 3 home-state Democratic gathering that the sleight-of-hand is intended to enable his colleagues to avoid any more tough votes until the one on final passage.  David Dayen of the liberal Web site Firedoglake reported from the meeting that, ‘this will not be a traditional conference committee, Waxman said, because the motions to select and instruct conferees in the Senate 'would need 60 votes [in the Senate] all over again."

 

 

 



 

 
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