Cameras Should Stay in Place After the House Picks a Speaker
The U.S. House of Representatives has struggled all week to elect a new speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R–Calif.), the presumptive frontrunner, has so far lost over a dozen separate votes as he struggles to win over dissenters in his own party.
During what should otherwise be a completely routine and unexceptional parliamentary procedure, viewers are glued to C-SPAN, the nonprofit cable channel that has aired live, unedited footage from the House floor since 1979. The proceedings have even produced viral moments: Newly-elected congressman and serial fabulist George Santos (R–N.Y.) sitting alone in the House chamber. Children, tired and bored, waiting for their parents to finish.
In two other separate videos, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) spoke privately with far-right Reps. Paul Gosar (R–Ariz.) and Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.), her presumptive ideological opposites. The video of Gaetz and Ocasio-Cortez prompted speculation as to what the two were discussing; when The Intercept‘s Ryan Grim asked her, Ocasio-Cortez said that the two were discussing a “side deal” that McCarthy allegedly tried to strike with some Democrats.
If this week feels unusually exciting for the typically staid C-SPAN, there’s a reason for that. Ben O’Connell, C-SPAN’s director of editorial operations, told VICE that private video cameras are usually not allowed in the U.S. House. The House Recording Studio, a government entity, controls all cameras in the chamber and allows C-SPAN and others to broadcast the footage it captures. Many times over four decades, C-SPAN asked for permission to add its own cameras to the chamber, and each time the House denied the request.
But C-SPAN is allowed to bring in its own cameras during certain high-profile events, like swearing-in ceremonies or the State of the Union. Since the House speaker vote is one of those events, and it has stretched on for several days, the cameras have been able to stay and capture candid moments between
Article from Reason.com