We are starting to see the first steps for transparency from incoming Republican leaders, moving beyond the widely publicized negotiations and rules agendas. While rules changes take a committed House majority, some committee changes can happen at the sole direction of the chair.
Earlier this week, news stories confirmed that Representative David Dreier, who is line to be the next chairman of the House Rules Committee, has directed the Chief Administrator’s Office to begin installing video cameras in all of the committee’s hearing rooms. In a letter to the chief administrator, Dreier emphasized the need for “genuine openness and transparency.”
Currently, the Rules Committee hearing room is one of only three without cameras — the others being the ethics and Intelligence committee rooms.
The Rules committee is a perennial seat of process criticism, as the majority wields it power there, and the minority rails against it. Having dedicated cameras wired into the room for every public Rules Committee hearing will be a step forward for the committee, and one that is overdue.
Dreier’s request is the first concrete step taken by Republicans to enact an election-year promise. As we’ve mentioned recently, Sunlight has been tracking leadership’s transparency promises and positions, and we will work vigorously to see important reforms through to enactment.