GOP refuses to broadcast House Dems’ contraception hearing

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 15:31 EDT
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The U.S. House of Representatives. Photo: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
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Updated, below — When House Republicans invited an all-male panel to discuss why religious institutions oppose giving their female employees access to reproductive health products, Democrats proposed a single female witness, who was promptly denied.

In response, Democrats are planning their own contraceptives hearing — but the problem is, Republicans will not let them use House equipment to film the hearing for broadcast on C-SPAN or anywhere else.

That’s according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) aides, who told Politico reporter Jennifer Haberkorn that the House recording studio denied Democrats’ request on orders from Republicans on the Committee on House Administration.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, said that the rules were changed in 2008 to lift restrictions on the House recording studio, meaning the GOP’s refusal represents an unprecedented reversal of policy.

The Republicans’ spokeswoman on the Committee on House Administration did not respond to a request for comment.

Update: Republicans insist rules weren’t changed in 2008

Salley Wood, the Committee on House Administration’s deputy staff director, told Raw Story shortly after this story’s publication that House broadcast rules were not changed in 2008.

She also provided documentation which shows that a proposal to allow the minority party to use House recording equipment was “explicitly denied” by former House Administration Committee Chair Robert Brady, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania.

That means the House is functioning under procedures which only allow broadcasts of “House floor proceedings, Committee proceedings, and studio origination work within the confines of the House Recording Studio facilities,” along with “locations of authorized Leadership press events.”

In other words: Much like when Democrats were in the majority, Republicans simply do not want to authorize recording of their opponents’ hearing, and the rules are on their side so long as they have more members in the House.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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