By Molly K. Hooper - 07/14/09 12:19 PM EDT
Most of the committee rooms have cameras that feed live webcasts of hearings, but the Rules Committee does not have a camera installed.
Rules Committee ranking member David Dreier (R-Calif.) and Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) note in their letter however, that the room has the capability to broadcast proceedings.
“Much of the architectural work required for the installation of cameras was completed about 4 years ago during the last renovation of the hearing room and we understand that the costs associated with installing the cameras do not come from the Committee's regular budget,” they state in the letter.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill that would require the Rules Committee to meet on the House floor so that C-SPAN cameras would have to broadcast the proceedings.
Over the past few months, Republicans have launched many floor protests over what they consider to be heavy-handed, unprecedented restrictions on appropriations bills that prevent them from offering amendments.
Traditionally, appropriations bills have been open so that all members may offer amendments on the floor.
After Republicans proposed to offer dozens of often controversial amendments to the first funding bill, Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) shut down business on the floor to get the Rules Committee to pick which amendments would be considered.
“Whether it is a 300-page amendment dropped in Members' laps at 3 o'clock in the morning, a conference report authorizing large payouts to AIG executives, or the Rules Committee's new-found role as the arbiter of every amendment considered on the floor of the House, the public deserves to see what we're up to in the Rules Committee,” they write.