Gaetz Wants To Bring C-SPAN Cameras Back On House Floor

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is proposing an amendment to bring more transparency back to the House floor, showing the American people more of what their representatives say and do while conducting business by requiring the Speaker of the House to allow four C-SPAN cameras to broadcast proceedings.

After C-SPAN provided the American people with a more close-up view of the dramatic scenes that took place during the House Speaker vote last week, the channel may soon regain control of cameras in the chamber thanks to Gaetz’s amendment.

According to Fox News, the amendment would require newly-elected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to allow four cameras owned and operated by C-SPAN to broadcast and record proceedings that take place on the House floor.

“I’ve received a lot of feedback from constituents about how interesting it was, and that you were able to see in real-time how our government is functioning, what alliances are being created, what discussions are being had, what animated moments drive the action,” Gaetz told Fox News. “And the pool view of the Congress is antiquated and a little boomer-fied.”

During the days-long process that ultimately led to McCarthy being elected as speaker, which took 15 roll call votes to accomplish, C-SPAN garnered positive reviews for the footage it obtained during negotiations and voting using a wide array of camera angles.

One of these dramatic moments included a physical altercation, where Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) was pulled away by a colleague as he attempted to shout at and berate Gaetz.

While most of the dialogue could not be heard from the proceedings, some Twitter accounts had fun with the video footage — with one popular account, Bad Lip Reading, making several humorous mock interpretations of conversations between lawmakers. A few of the hilarious videos went viral, including one mocking McCarthy exchanging words with Gaetz.

The control of cameras in the House chamber has been maintained mainly by the House Recording Studio for several decades, while the Senate Recording Studio controls the Senate cameras. C-SPAN is then given permission to broadcast the footage captured by those cameras. According to VICE, rare exceptions are made for special events, including the State of the Union Address and the speaker vote.

C-SPAN announced in a tweet on Monday — just as the House began consideration of a rules package — that the government had taken control of the cameras once again, and that their network had returned to broadcasting the feed from the chamber.

“C-SPAN cameras are no longer in the House chamber. We have resumed using the feed from House/government-operated cameras,” the tweet read.

However, since the speaker vote, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed their support for providing more camera access to the House floor.

In a tweet, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) called C-SPAN’s coverage of the speaker vote “worthy of an Oscar,” adding that he planned to introduce a bill to require “House cameras to continue to capture the full Chamber & not just what the Speaker wants.”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) expressed a similar sentiment during an appearance on CNN over the weekend, saying that he thought it was a “good thing” to allow more access to C-SPAN.

Gaetz also noted that C-SPAN’s cameras captured “humanizing” moments in which he was talking with Democrats — specifically citing conversations with Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee D-TX) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) — which stood in stark contrast to the “high-octane moments” that are seen often during contentious hearings.

“There are there are moments of bipartisanship and collegiality that occur every day,” Gaetz said. “And the country doesn’t get to see those.”