Gaetz introduces amendment to bring C-SPAN cameras back to House floor

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is introducing an amendment to the House rules on Tuesday to allow C-SPAN cameras on the House floor during normal proceedings.

The amendment would require the speaker of the House to allow C-SPAN to broadcast the floor proceedings of the House, much like during the contentious House speaker vote last week.

“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 Digital in an interview. “And the pool view of the Congress is antiquated and a little boomer-fied.”

Gaetz’s amendment requires the speaker of the House to allow a minimum of four cameras owned and operated by C-SPAN to broadcast and record the floor proceedings of the House.

Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaks during the 12th ballot as the search for speaker continued for a fourth day during a meeting of the 118th Congress, Friday, January 6, 2023, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC.
(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Support has been mounting for C-SPAN to permanently adopt the approach it took last week to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s contentious speaker election, in which it freely roamed the House floor and captured dramatic moments that don’t often see air time. Typically, cameras are fixed on the dais and are controlled by the House Recording Studio, whose footage is then used by C-SPAN.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., talks to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after Gaetz voted “present” in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

U.S. Rep.-elect Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (L) greets Rep.-elect Chip Roy (R-TX) in the House Chamber during the fourth day of elections for Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2023 in Washington, DC.
((Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images))

During the speaker vote, C-SPAN was reportedly given permission in advance to record the proceedings, but some have signaled support for making it a permanent fixture.

“I have talked to a handful of colleagues and I have yet to encounter one who didn’t views he broader transparency as a net positive,” Gaetz said.

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“It’s interesting to see how our leaders communicate with one another, and it’s humanizing,” he continued. “I had constituents reach out to me about a friendly chat that the country observed me having with [Democratic Rep.] Sheila Jackson Lee. And while Sheila and I certainly have had very high-octane moments in the House Judiciary Committee, and while neither one of us like to give an inch when it comes to effective argumentation, I’ve also found her to be a warm person interpersonally.”

“And you know of people observed me having conversations with [Democratic Rep.] Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former head of the Democratic Party,” he added. “So, there are there are moments of bipartisanship and collegiality that occur every day. And the country doesn’t get to see those.”