DC Reporters Say New Restrictions Bar Them From Filming in Capitol Hallways

Wade Massey
June 14, 2017

Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to express her dismay at the mysterious rule change on camera in the basement of the Capitol.

A Senate official familiar with administrative discussions said, "Everything you did before, you can still do". This is no time for limiting press access in the U.S. Senate - with Russian Federation hearings, Attorney General (Jeff) Sessions testifying, and what appears to be the secretive drafting of a healthcare bill. He added that the optics of it, coinciding as it did with senators putting together their own health care bill behind closed doors, "I understand in tandem it's maybe not so good".

Staff members of the Senate Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery told reporters late Tuesday morning they would not be allowed to film interviews with senators without prior permission from that senator's office and the Senate Rules Committee.

Abandoning previous precedent completely, reporters must now request access to an interview with senators via the lawmaker's office and the Senate Rules Committee.

"What we've been doing works fine", Perdue said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

And that fact was not lost on Democratic Senators, who called for Senate Republicans to give reporters the same access they've had for years.

It appears, however, that the directive to journalists was premature. Sen.

Some reporters pointed out that the committee might be enforcing rules already on the books, although current rules allow videotaping and recording.

Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican who chairs the Rules committee said in a statement that the committee had in fact made no changes to the existing rules. He said he wouldn't move forward on a change to press access without consulting me. He said it was an inquiry and that we would talk about it.

Tensions are fraying between lawmakers and the press, which has flooded the Capitol with reporters, eager to cover a new administration.

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Members of the media had responded with outrage to the restrictions.

Senate Rules Committee and @SenateSAA trying to SHUT DOWN press access in halls. No more staking out hearings without permission. "Not OK", CNN's Manu Raju tweeted.

The move prompted swift backlash from First Amendment advocates and senators on both sides of the aisle.

- Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) June 13, 2017Maybe not the right moment to lower the secrecy veil on Congress.

"I think there had been some discussions about you guys harassing us, and I hadn't done that", Shelby said.

- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 13, 2017This is Senate GOP trying to hide from their awful health care bill. But "of all the problems in America, y'all are pretty down on the chain".

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told HuffPost that while reporters "are kind of a pain in the ass", he didn't mind them hanging around to ask questions.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is surrounded by reporters as he leaves a briefing of the full Senate by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, amid controversy over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, at the Capitol, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Washington.

The Senate is also taking the lead on the probe into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russian Federation during the 2016 elections.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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