“Our efforts are going to be to work on a bipartisan basis in an open fashion to solve the problems of the American people.” – Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Jan. 4, 2007
Given the climate in Washington lately, only the most politically naïve could have expected the “bipartisan” part of the Democratic congressional leader’s statement to be fulfilled. But considering Democrats’ wailing over supposed Bush-era secrecy in office, perhaps the “open fashion” portion of Reid’s comments had a chance.
Well, so much for that it seems.
Reid, his House leader counterpart Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama – all of whom at some point have promised more transparency in government – have so far resisted calls to have negotiations regarding health care legislation broadcast over C-SPAN.
That channel’s Chairman and CEO Brian P. Lamb asked for such openness in a Dec. 30 letter to congressional leaders. Republican lawmakers, who have been all but ignored in the crafting of the controversial legislation, have been joining in the call.
Republican Gregg Harper, in his first term as Mississippi’s 3rd District representative, last week added his voice to the growing clamor. He said the current situation is ironic in that one of Obama’s first executive order sentences promised a commitment to “creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”
“The American people deserve a seat at the table and so I strongly support this request by C-SPAN, and urge the Democratic leadership to follow suit,” Harper said. “Citizens deserve openness, transparency and accountability, not more secretive backroom deals.”