Will the American people be able to watch online as members of Congress discuss how much money to spend on the House of Representatives next year? Probably not, as this Thursday’s hearing will take place in a room without cameras, even through the main committee room is wired to the internet and apparently available.*
The in-person-only nature of the hearing conflicts with the newly adopted House Rules, which require “to the maximum extent practicable, each committee shall –”
provide audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting for the transaction of business in a manner that allows the public to easily listen to and view the proceedings.
Last year, Speaker Boehner moved to ensure that the House Rules Committee could broadcasting video of its proceedings in its main hearing room. At the time, he said, “given the important business conducted there, we feel strongly that the American people should have the ability to watch the Committee in action.” The same argument can be made here.
In light of the serious and important efforts being undertaken by the House leadership to move Congress into the electronic age, the Appropriations Committee should hold its hearings as possible in the main room whenever possible, starting with this one, until cameras are installed in its subcommittee rooms.
~ Phone calls requesting comment were not immediately returned, but I do hope to have an update when we hear back.