WASHINGTON – C-SPAN cameras will be allowed to broadcast the financial regulations committee hearings expected to begin this week, fulfilling a wish of Representative Barney Frank.
“We’ve asked to cover it, and they said we could get in,” Howard Mortman, a C-SPAN spokesman, said this afternoon. “As soon as we find out when, we’ll cover it. That’s based on the committee saying that cameras can come in.”
The conference committee, made up of House and Senate lawmakers from both parties, is expected to begin meeting on Thursday to reconcile the differences in bills already approved by the two chambers. The legislation, which President Obama wants on his desk within weeks, would dramatically reshape the nation’s financial regulations.
Frank, a Newton Democrat and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has been talking for weeks about trying to televise the conference committee meetings so that the public can view the high-stakes debate.
Still, anyone expecting to witness the deals being cut will be disappointed: most of the negotiations will still take place behind closed doors. Only certain portions of the committee work – debate, and votes on amendments – are likely to be televised.
A congressional historian said the conference committee hearings, when they are held, have been open to the public for decades. Mortman said C-SPAN has covered such hearings in the past.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.