One of the country’s most prominent conservative groups is joining the chorus of voices calling for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to allow greater video camera access inside his Congressional chamber.
Americans across the country sat captivated by a rare look at the House floor last week when C-SPAN cameras were given expanded access, as lawmakers argued and negotiated over who would hold the Speaker’s gavel across four intense days.
In a letter obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com on Thursday evening, Tea Party Patriots Action co-founder and honorary chair Jenny Beth Martin praised McCarthy for allowing a ‘panoramic view’ of the House floor rather than the ‘static shots’ of the podium at the front of the chamber, as is usually the case.
‘The result was transparency of a kind rarely witnessed in the Congress. It was a huge hit with the American public,’ the conservative activist wrote to McCarthy.
But in a departure from previous calls in the growing movement, Martin proposed going a step further – she called on McCarthy to allow a multi-cam setup so that Americans could see several vantage points at once, and select which they want to focus on.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has received multiple requests for expanded C-SPAN access on the House floor, as lawmakers on both sides introduce legislation calling for more cameras
‘In addition to allowing C-SPAN to continue to broadcast images from multiple new vantage points, rather than focusing only on the static shots of the podium and the dais, I urge you to let C-SPAN livestream all the images it captures simultaneously, via a web site that allows its users to focus in on any camera angle at any time,’ Martin wrote.
A source close to McCarthy’s office pointed out to DailyMail.com that ‘a number of different angles and vantage points that haven’t traditionally been used’ are already at play on the House floor since he ascended to the Speakership.
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in the House Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2023.
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Comparing the first hour of the 118th Congress’ House Rules debate to the previous two terms under Nancy Pelosi, the Republican-led majority has utilized more cameras and more transitions.
Eight cameras were used that hour, compared to seven and six respectively for the 116th and 117th Houses.
Martin’s letter argued that upgrading it with a multi-cam feed would ‘dovetail nicely with your majority’s appropriate focus on enhanced transparency.’
‘And by making the show more interesting, I’m quite confident the additional camera angles would reach new and larger audiences – surely, a win all around,’ the letter finished.
The Speaker himself has so far not spoken out one way or another regarding C-SPAN’s expanded access.
McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar told DailyMail.com on Friday morning, ‘We are exploring a number of options to open up the People’s House to ensure a more transparent and accessible Congress for the American people.’
It comes just days after C-SPAN executives asked the Republican Speaker to ‘install a few additional cameras’ in the House chamber to allow them to continue last week’s enthralling coverage of democracy playing out. A similar request is made every new Congress.
DailyMail.com obtained this letter sent by Tea Party Patriots Action co-founder and honorary chair Jenny Beth Martin on Thursday
‘When mixed with the existing House production, shots from our camera would allow us to create a second, journalistic product, just as we did last week,’ C-SPAN co-CEO Susan Swain wrote.
‘If ongoing daily coverage of sessions by C-SPAN is not acceptable to the Congress, we request that you at least revisit the rules and permit C-SPAN and other independent journalists to cover key legislative sessions.’
And on Tuesday, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz announced he would be introducing an amendment to the House rules that would allow C-SPAN to keep up the comprehensive coverage during regular floor proceedings.
The idea has also gained traction among multiple Democrats, who – being in the minority this Congress – were more removed from the intense drama of the week.
Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan introduced similar legislation on Monday, declaring that C-SPAN’s coverage of the Speaker vote was ‘worthy of an Oscar.’
Republicans finally elected Kevin McCarthy as Speaker in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 7 after four days and 15 rounds of voting.
While GOP leaders and 20 conservative holdouts were negotiating behind closed doors to win McCarthy the gavel, Americans – most, for the first time – were exposed to hours of House floor deliberations and bipartisan huddles that led to furious analyses on Twitter as well as other places of political discourse.
The post-fourteenth round vote tension that came from McCarthy marching up to Gaetz, who had just derailed his Speakership bid again, was only visible to viewers thanks to C-SPAN’s expanded access. The same goes for Gaetz’s near-confrontation with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers.
People got to see Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez huddling with Republican firebrands like Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz, much to the surprise of many watching at home on both sides.
And children sat fidgeting in their seats waiting for their weary parents to finally be sworn in – humanizing the otherwise dry formality of Washington’s lawmakers.