Monday, October 19, 2009

Buchanan: Sunshine needed in health care debate

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Bradenton, this week will ask his House colleagues to promise that upcoming debates on a final health care bill be conducted out in the open so Americans will know what is going on, and where their representatives stand.

Buchanan said he will introduce a resolution demanding that all conference committee meetings on a health care reform bill be conducted in the open "under the watchful eye of the American people."

“In Florida, we put a high priority on the public’s access to government meetings,” Buchanan said in a news release. “The Florida Sunshine Law helps ensure an open government. It is time to shine some Florida Sunshine on the Halls of Congress.”

The entire resolution reads:
“Whereas, House rules allow conference committees to hold closed-door meetings that exclude the public and press;

“Whereas, full transparency is critical to a healthy democracy, such openness has not always been the case among conferees who have met privately behind closed doors;
“Whereas, in previous years, conferees have met in small rooms or private meetings and circumvented full transparency;

“Whereas, the New York Times has reported on a disturbing pattern of House leadership skirting open access by allowing small groups of conference committee members to meet privately;

“Whereas, ABC News reported earlier this year that the $1 Trillion Stimulus bill was passed after “closed-door negotiations”;

“Whereas, health care reform is one of the largest public policy reforms taken up by Congress in generations;

“Whereas, health care reform will impact the lives of all Americans;

“Whereas, health care constitutes 1/6 of our nation’s economy;

“Whereas, the Congress is elected by the people to serve the people: Now, therefore, be it

“Resolved, that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that any conference committee or meetings held to determine the content of sweeping national health care legislation be held in full public view, not behind closed doors.”

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