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GOP PLANNING TO OPEN MORE OF U.S. HOUSE TO TV COVERAGE

SHARE GOP PLANNING TO OPEN MORE OF U.S. HOUSE TO TV COVERAGE

Republicans plan to open more of the House to TV coverage, but whether television viewers will ever see what gallery visitors observe is still in question.

"It's too early to tell what they really want to do," Brian Lamb, C-SPAN chairman and chief executive officer, said Friday. "We know there are Republicans who don't want to give us control of the cameras and there are Democrats."Republicans already have decided to go beyond current hearings' coverage and let TV cameras into the House speaker's daily news conference and the "markup" committee meetings when bills are debated and amended before going to the House floor for a vote.

They've established a task force to talk about the rest.

"We want to get into a dialogue with C-SPAN, with the American people, and get their input about what they would like to see," said Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., head of the task force that also will include Democrats.

Currently, TV cameras in the chamber focus only on the person at the microphone. The House controls the cameras that feed pictures to C-SPAN and any other interested TV outlets.

Chamber visitors, on the other hand, often see much more of the dynamics of the House - the side conversations and the informal meetings between Democratic and Republican members.

Then again, they sometimes see an almost empty chamber. The TV pictures don't reveal that.