Despite C-SPAN letter, health talks remain closed -- UPDATE: Boehner signs on 

So far, Democratic leaders appear to be unfazed by a letter sent to Congress from C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb, requesting that lawmakers open up talks on merging the House and Senate health care reform bills.

House Democratic leaders Tuesday afternoon were meeting secretly in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to discuss what kind of compromise with the Senate they would be willing to vote for.

On her way into the private meeting, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., a key negotiator, denied that the meetings were secretive.

"Really, it is an open process," DeLauro said as she headed down a hallway to the meeting. "This is about as transparent a process on a piece of legislation of this complexity than anyone even serving longer than I can attest to."

Lamb on Tuesday urged bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate to open up the process, reminding them that they and President Obama had discussed "the value of transparent discussions on reforming the nation's health care system."

Pelosi has not released any official response to the request and her office has thus far declined comment on the matter.

But she has added a press availability to the schedule today. She and the relevant committee chairman are scheduled to attend as soon as they emerge from behind closed doors.

 

UPDATE:

The first congressional leader has responded to C-SPANs request to televise the health care talks. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he endorses the CSPAN request:

“As House Republican Leader, I can confidently state that all House Republicans strongly endorse your proposal and stand ready to work with you to make it a reality,” Boehner wrote in response to a letter C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb sent to congressional leaders. “Hard-working families won’t stand for having the future of their health care decided behind closed doors.  These secret deliberations are a breeding ground for more of the kickbacks, shady deals and special-interest provisions that have become business as usual in Washington.  Too much is at stake to have a final bill built on payoffs and pork-barrel spending.”

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