Senate suddenly bars reporters from filming senators in Capitol hallways


The party campaigned on a promise to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature legislation and replace it with a different bill.

In a directive that was communicated verbally to members of the Capitol Hill press corps on Tuesday, reporters were told they would no longer be able to film interviews with United States senators without previously granted permission from the Senate rules committee as well as the senator whom reporters seek to interview.

Public interest in Congress and media coverage of lawmakers has skyrocketed since Trump's inauguration and crowds of reporters in the Capitol hallways have hit record sizes.

The Post, citing correspondents from major television networks, said staff from the Senate Radio and Television Gallery told them they could no longer conduct impromptu interviews with lawmakers in the hallways without prior authorization from the Senate Rules Committee and the lawmakers' own staff.

Jamie Dupree of WSB Radio fame sends word that he understands the situation may affect TV journalism only and wouldn't be applied to print or radio reporters.

Another thought: Given that every cell phone is now both a video and still camera, how in the world do you enforce this fantasy?

But the Senate Rules Committee, in a statement, said nothing has changed.

Capitol Hill Republican lawmakers have refuted this claim.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, told reporters that Shelby explained the alarm was set off by a "staff inquiry" and downplayed it as an "arbitrary enforcement of a rule that is against common practice". Several aides who would not speak for attribution said the statement from the Rules Committee likely meant that Shelby was leaning on the standing rule in saying there were no new restrictions being put forth.

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Senate officials also announced harsh restrictions on the movement of all reporters in the Capitol basement where media members often catch up to lawmakers as they come and go during the day, the Hill reported.

"He said he would never move forward on some major change without consulting with me. So he seemed to imply that they weren't going to change the policy", Klobuchar told reporters.

Numerous decisions made by the Senate Rules Committee occur in private and it has not met publicly since February.

"We have heard nothing about it and suddenly this new policy was put in place that doesn't reflect any discussion that we've had", she said on Tuesday. "To whoever is trying to protect Senators - we can fend for ourselves", he wrote in a tweet.

"Maybe not the right moment to lower the secrecy veil on Congress". There are no hearings scheduled for the proposal.

The effort to limit press access met with bipartisan outrage. Lindsey Graham told reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., flanked by Sen.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) retweeted an NBC News reporter's tweet, adding: "This is a bad idea".