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Contentious House Speaker vote sparks debate over filming in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. — America had a rare unfiltered look at the democratic process being carried out as the House of Representatives held 15 rounds of votes to elect a new speaker last week.

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A process that normally takes just a few hours instead spanned an unprecedented five days, giving the public an inside look we don’t normally get.

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From Tuesday afternoon through early Saturday morning, privately-run C-SPAN was able to show more of the House floor than it usually can.

Most of the angles normally shown are operated by government-controlled cameras which only include an image of the person speaking and a wide angle of the floor.

However, the opening day of any new Congress is an exception. There’s more freedom with what can be shown until lawmakers are sworn-in.

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Over the weekend, Texas Republican Chip Roy told CNN the lack of regulations for the cameras was a good thing for the public to be able to watch democracy in action.

Congressman Maxwell Frost - a Democrat from Florida- agrees. He took to twitter, writing “I think C-SPAN should keep control of the cameras on the house floor. It makes our democracy more accessible, understandable, and exciting.”

The hashtag “FREECSPAN” was even trending on Twitter.

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For decades, C-SPAN has been asking congress for expanded access to the House and Senate floors, but it has been denied each time over concerns about maintaining the dignity and decorum of Congress.

We’ve asked both Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate if they would support changing the camera rules but none have  responded.

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