January 6th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Secret negotiations to reconcile two health care bills?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

How dare they.

President Obama and Democratic leaders have decided to bypass a formal House and Senate conference to reconcile the two health care bills. Instead - White House and Democratic leaders will hold informal - another word for secret - negotiations... meant to shut Republicans and the public out of the process.

What a far cry from the election when then-candidate Obama pledged to quote "broadcast health care negotiations on C-Span so that the American people can see what the choices are."

President Obama hasn't even made a token effort to keep his campaign promises of more openness and transparency in government. It was all just another lie told for political expediency.

The head of C-Span wrote a letter asking Congress to "open all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings, to electronic media coverage."

When White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked whether the administration would support televising the negotiations, he refused to answer, mumbling something about "I haven't seen the letter." That wasn't the question. You either support openess or you don't.

The Democrats insist this is all on the up-and-up... with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying "there has never been a more open process for any legislation." Really?

This is the same Nancy Pelosi who, after becoming Speaker in 2006, promised the Democrats would have "the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history." Let's hope the voters remember some of this crap when the midterm elections roll around later this year.

Here’s my question to you: Should secret negotiations be used to reconcile the two health care bills?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Don from Ontario writes:
Health care is too important and complex to be negotiated behind closed doors. It is doubtful that any single member of the Senate or House knows enough about the topic to enact a bill that truly improves the current messy "system". The negotiations should be televised so that news programs like CNN can daily ask its medical and legal experts to comment.

Helen from Washington writes:
At this point, I am sick and tired of hearing about health care; anything to keep it off cable news is fine by me.

Ed from Maryland writes:
In secret is generally where people do all their evil. That's also where people conspire. If they conspired to do good, why do it in secret?

Doug from Dallas writes:
What difference does it make, Jack? Whether it's an open forum or closed, the end result will be the same. Why should the "Party of No" be included? They all voted against it so if they hold true to their roots, they'll do everything they can to delay it even further.

Jayne from New Hampshire writes:
It doesn't matter whether the negotiations are secret or conducted at Madison Square Garden. Without a single-payer health care plan, the whole mess is nothing more than welfare for the big insurance companies. And here I thought there was a difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Sue from San Diego writes:
Even after Obama promised to work for ALL Americans and reach across party lines for the most bipartisan administration in history, they are conducting secret meetings excluding the Republicans and ALL the American people. We will respond the only way we can, the remaining Democrats that don't resign will be voted out of office and Obama will be a one term president.

Patrick writes:
Well, how's that change working out for everybody? I don't think this is what American voters had in mind when they voted for change they could believe in.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I just wonder how our congressional thieves managed to get all the insurance and drug company executives together to adopt our new health care reform.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  2. Gigi Oregon

    Yes. If nothing else it will keep the media out of it. I haven't heard anyone say I don't want my Social Security. Maybe it's because my circle of friends desperately need their Social Security. It will be the same with health care once it is in place. How open was FDR's Social Security plan. Probably not...that's why it's still in place in spite of the governments abuse. What's the difference in Pres. Obama broken promises than those broken promises made by Pres. Bush.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  3. Emden (Deep in the Heart of Hurst Texas)

    Sure Why not.

    How else will anything corrupt get accomplished!

    By the way, those campaign promises

    ! Bovine Dung !.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  4. chaney, La.

    After the Republican party hi-jacked the healthcare reform issue last summer, and totally misinformed all the old folks in the country, with death panels and such...causing all reasonable dialogue to be drowned out by the shouting of Nazi, Socialist, Pinko Commie, government take over of health care, hell I dont blame them. I

    January 6, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Eric Platt

    Getting this bill passed is like making sausages. It is difficult to tolerate the process for either. If Pres Obama wants to have Health Care Reform he can't allow public scrutiny of the negotiations.

    Voters have short memories. By the time he tries for re-election nobody will care about his methods for getting reform. He runs on the success of the bill. By keeping the negotiations secret he gives Democrats a small chance to get re-elected this year.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Jerry

    NO, We hire these people they work for us, They think they are Kings and Queens, and they aren't They are white collar crooks. Jerry/ Iowa

    January 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  7. Jane (Minnesota)

    Whatever happened to transparency? Secrecy pretty much guarantees that the everyday Americans who these "things" are supposed to be representing and helping are going to get the shaft – AGAIN!

    Can we have a national referendum to decide if we really want a Senate?????? What a bunch of self serving losers we have in charge of this fiasco!!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Mary WV

    Of course Not, but as you have stated, promises are words used by politicans as a vote getter. I hope to live long enough to see a new electronic invention, called the Truth-A-Meter. It would work as follows:
    It would be placed on each person running for a political office during the entire duration of their campaign. If the person tells a lie, he or she would be elimated from the race immediately.

    What do you think? Will this gadget drain the swamp? Oh, by the way I think we would probably see a ghost town in Washington, D C

    January 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  9. John in Santa Barbara

    The Republicans have chosen to stonewall all proceedings on healthcare. So leave them out, because it will be more of the same. We need to get healthcare passed and running.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Dan, Chantilly VA

    It's like the old fable of the Scorpion and the Frog. You can't blame a politician for lying, it's their nature. It's the gullibility of the American public that's drowning us in the river.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  11. Ed from California

    If the end result benefits ALL Americans then yes. Again like you posted yesterday, "Are political dynasties good for the U.S ?" Yes, as long as it's not a political agenda. As long as the boy's and girls in Wash are looking after the good of all Americans, and not their own agenda.
    Congress is out of control. And, perhaps with millions of Americans out of work, they'll have more time to focus on their Representatives in D.C. and express their pleasure or displeasure with them.
    So, we have to have secret meeting, just to keep our hired help in the good graces. After all we don't want to upset their bosses, the lobbyists.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  12. katiec Pekin, IL

    Yes, Jack, they should.
    If the republicans are present they will do nothing but obstruct, as they do everything else. They have made total fools of theirselves and insulted our political system with their goals to destroy our president, party first, win at any cost and costant lies and fearmongering. They have totally lost any integrity or honor they once had and are putting
    their egos over the survival of us and our country.
    If we want to get get anything accomplished for our country, it will not be done with the party of NOthing in attendence.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  13. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    NO they should not. But I think the Democrats have decided to play hard ball and the hell with the Republicans.

    Anyway Jack I don't think the President can do anything about it if he wanted to. Harry Reid does NOT report to the White House.
    It's his and Nancy Pelosis ball game to win or loose. Congress makes the laws.

    We are seeing how much power the President has – Or more to the point does not have.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  14. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    We have been promised the highest level of transparency by the President, the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority leader and we have absolutely received it. If anyone cannot see right through them and their motives and motivations then our education system truly is as bad as we think.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  15. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Obviously not, but just as obviously that's exactly what is happening.
    Glad to see you're calling the Democrats on backpeddling on their campaign committments ( openness, transparency, ethics, no lobbyists in Administration, bipartisanship, fiscal responsibility, etc).

    You're scaring me Jack – yesterday you agreed with a recent Pat Buchannan article and now this. Could you actually agree with Sara Palin on some issue too?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  16. Rose

    Jack, secret negotiations WOW isn't that new. Secret deals is what has gotten us in this mess, This is nothing new. We are fed up with all of them. Slowly they are sucking the life right out of us........

    January 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  17. paul

    When we vote we need to vote them all out! That is no secret!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  18. Mr. D

    So much for "openness". The only thing that is open are Obama's and Nancy's mouths. Are we so naive as to believe campaign promises? History should have taught that lesson to us a long time ago. Open and honest should not be mentioned in the same breath with Congress. Shame on us for "buying into false promises and fairy tail stories of better days ahead. Where is the nearest exit?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Russ in Johnston

    A couple TRILLION$$ to be spent on this bill and the Repubs are shut out! What a farce Obama's administration has become in one year. Does ANYONE trust this current group in DC? I thought we had the worst of the worst before the '08 election when Congress helped trash our banking and mortgage industries, but this group of BOZOs in Washington, and especially all the 'we have a mandate' Democrats, seem to be a bunch of incompetent fools. Is there one person left in Washington with integrity? Because from my view, every single elected person in our govt can be bought off for SOMETHING!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  20. ken, nj

    Secret negotiations should not be used because this is not a top secret operation. Pelosi is going to cave on the public option and she does not want anyone to see what a sell out she is to the insurance lobby. The voters will of course re-elect her and a majority of the same so called liberals and progressives who have done nothing but sell out to wall street and the insurance lobby. Watch what they do not what they say and vote accordingly.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  21. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, it would be tempting for Obama to do so but at great risk to the prospects of getting re-elected. Such a move would haunt the administration and be thrown in their face so often that the credibility of the party would be eroded. Reneging on election promises, especially ones that were instrumental in getting one elected, is political suicide. Trust in politicians would take yet another serious step back and only reinforce old stereotypes.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  22. Marc


    The Dems don't really have a choice if they want to have a mature debate among adults. To invite the Party of NO into the discussion would be like inviting kindergarten aged children to participate in a Harvard debate.

    Extraordinary measures to move the process forward makes sense to me.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  23. Ed from MD

    In secret is generally where people do all their evil. That's also where people conspire. If they conspired to do good why do it in secret?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  24. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    OF COURSE! The dern Republicans never had any interest in seeing a bill passed and have been sabotaging the entire processs from the get go. It is high time the Democrats played a bit of hardball. As for public notice the whole thing has been scrutinized to death already and whatever winds up in the final version will be no surprise to anyone.
    Arlington Texas

    January 6, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  25. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Maybe they got tired of all the circuses going on around this. It doesn't matter anyway since they are going to do whatever they want. We have no control. My advice is to just ignore whatever they decide. What are they going to do arrest 300 million of us? Fining unemployed and homeless people is a joke. The Chambers of Commerce ignored the Rehab. Act of 1975 until they passed the Amer. with Disabilities Act. Why can't we ignore this?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  26. Joe G. (Illinois)

    To say the least, as to put things into perspective.. The majority elected Obama and now people have to pay the price or ripe the rewards of their free willing actions. So now to bring this little short story to an end what do you think should happen Mr. Cafferty? Keep in mind there is no escaping peril “If that’s what coming.” That the dollar and all other world currencies depend on this dubious character.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  27. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    They aren't "secret" negotiations. This is a tactic used often, by both parties, to reconcile a bill before it is voted upon. But, Jack, since you are so up in arms about this common practice, I have a couple questions for you: Do you really want to watch the republican party filibuster this legislation for a few more weeks? And what would be the point in that?

    January 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  28. Cousin Vinny Connecticut

    Absolutely NOT, but you know they will be anyway! Over and over, Obama pledged 'transparency' in his administration. I've seen all the video clips of him saying everything will be "out in the open and broadcast on C-Span" and now, he won't even address his broken promises and lies. As for Gibbs, he really is a bumbling, stumbling, stammering fool (how did he ever get this job?!) and Pelosi..... well, let's just say that she is such an embarrassment, the "Court Jester" of the House and the "Blinkin'" of the famous trio, 'Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod'!! God help the USA!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  29. Doug - Dallas, TX

    What difference does it make Jack? Whether it's an open forum or closed, the end result will be the same. Why should the Party of No be included?
    They all voted against it so if they hold true to their roots, they'll do everything they can to delay it even further.

    As far as ethics is concerned, they go out the window when our elected officials get to Washington. If you want a lot of our problems fixed, fix that one and the rest will follow.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  30. David,Natchez,MS

    Doesn't matter if the meetings are open or closed when those in attendence have their own agenda and the citizens are left out of the process. The insurance companies have won and everyone else lost. I think it is time to do away with the two parties and have just one that is named "Our Way". This name wasn't my first choice.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  31. Joe M


    Yes! Secret negotiations should be used. Why? Because they (the democrats) know what's good for us or, they are hiding something and they don't want the rebublicans to tell us.
    Jack, don't you think the general public has had enough of these so called leaders saying one thing to get elected and then doing the exact opposite once in office?

    Independent Joe (Brainerd Mn)

    January 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  32. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    I'm sorry, but you must be joking. What OTHER bill in your memory has gotten this much attention and had this much transparency? This bill has been debated, defended, and derided for months-on-end. It's been carried around, put online, and discussed NEARLY to death. And if the Republicans have their way, it WILL be "to death." It's about time the Democrats finish this up, without further delay attempts by the Republicans so they can move on to other things.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  33. Ms. Wonderful

    In other countries secretive negotiations like these have inspired revolts. Time to buy stock in pharmaceuticals and insurance companies – they're being handed a golden goose by our thoughtful democratic leadership.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  34. Grant from Idaho

    Jack; Yes the negotiations should be done in any way that gets to a vote for healthe care reform. The Party of No (R) has no intention of actually contributing in a positive way to the debate or the solution.

    January 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  35. Russ in PA

    Why have something out in the open when you have no intent on true health care reform, which would involve removing government intervention from the free market system.

    This is just more brilliance from the two-party/one-head system. To think anything like "reform" will come of this just shows how little people think for themselves...

    January 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  36. Anthony from NJ

    Why do we need to air the negotiations on CSPAN when it would be the most boring procedure televised. Since there will be no give and take from the opposing party, which prefers to suck it's thumb and cry, it will simply be the democrats agreeing to agree. Ho-hum!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  37. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    This bill has been debated, defended, and derided for months-on-end. It's been carried around, put online, and discussed NEARLY to death. And if the Republicans have their way, it WILL be "to death." It's about time the Democrats finish this up, without further stall tactics by the Republicans so congress can move on to other things.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  38. Larry, Providence, RI

    How soon we forget Jack. So now you want people to vote Republican in 2010 because of something Nancy Pelosi said. Wow!!!
    Just think how wonderful it will be if the Republicans are in charge again. Then you'll see the "openness" that you desire, I'm sure!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  39. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    No but we dont have a say our voice has been silenced by earmark's .

    January 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  40. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    NO......... no to anything secret that has to do with the American people.

    President Obama promised transparency, let's have some!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  41. John, Fort Collins, CO

    These "negotiations" behind closed doors aren't really much of a secret. By all indications, President Obama is going to deliver a monolog telling Nancy Pelosi to bless the Senate version of the bill and quit burning daylight. Even if they were invited, C-Span wouldn't have enough time to get their cameras warmed up before it was over. And the stonewalling Republicans in Congress could care less what is in this bill or about health care in general. This all looks like politics as usual to me.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  42. Rick McDaniel

    How many indicators do you have to have, to determine that this is not a good bill, and it should not be passed??????

    January 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  43. BILL, WI

    This is how the democrats spell bipartisanship, openess, transparency, co-operation and reaching out across the aisle.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  44. Helen Canada

    Hi Jack:

    I thing is about time that they should do something in a secret.
    The public knows already what Mr. Obama wants.HEALTH CARE FOR ALL. If Republicans get their nose again into that subject,millions of dollars would be spend without results.
    They had a choice and they killed it.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  45. Don From Belleville, Ontario

    Health care is too important and complex to be negotiated behind closed doors. It is doubtful that ANY single member of the senate or house knows enough about the topic to enact a bill that truly improves the current messy "system". The negotiations should be televised so that news programs like CNN can daily ask its medical and legal experts to comment. The final result must not be a political compromise like the two existing Sentate and House versions. The future health of American citizens is too crucial for backroom deals.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  46. steve- virginia beach

    We the people are their bosses and have made it clear that we want to know in advance what their true intentions are, what they are doing, that we want to sit in on their meetings (via CSPAN), and that we want to be a part of their decision-making process. And they need to be fired, just like any other employees who consistently make it clear that they don't care what their bosses want them to do.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  47. Mysterious, Chicago

    Of course. I won't pretend to know all the rules of the Senate. But from what I've witnessed over the last few months, I wish they would have done this from the get-go.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  48. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio


    I think the public is having secret meetings on how to reconcile congressional behavior and "service" (?), and this ain't no crap. Wake up America !

    January 6, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  49. Patrick Tully

    Well - How's that CHANGE working out for everybody? I don't think this is what American voters had in mind when they voted for CHANGE they could believe in. And by the way, tell Queen Nancy that the tax payers didn't appreciate paying for that big military jet and the ghastly amounts of fuel it uses to ferry her around!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  50. John from Alaska

    Absolutely Jack. With spending of $1.4 million per day to influence this bill, the farther away that the insurance industry can be kept, the better! Having a for-profit insurance company decide whether you or I get a medical procedure is like having Exxon-Mobile run the Energy Department.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  51. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Is secrecy ever right? No, it is what dysfunction is built on.

    However, to combine these bills it is only a matter of the leads negotiating, both bills already have been open to the public and the Republicans. They are not secret.

    When this task is done, the final bill will be available for all to see, and the Republicans to formulate their lies and scare tactics from before any vote. The final bill will be open to any further additions or subtractions. Sort of like your programming meetings, is the public and press open to those? And why should they be?

    I think you're making an issue when one is not present...yet.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  52. Ed Lexington, KY

    Yes Jack, I think that's just fine - get the job done! The GOP is just dragging their feet, and have no intention of helping the American people. Transparency is great, but results are better.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  53. joe m

    Secret negotiations that no one has a clue about. Wasn't this what the president promised he will change? so much for CSPAN. So much for transparency. So much for change we can believe in. Just goes to show that democrats are actually no better than republicans when it comes to keeping their promises. I give up! Jack, would you run for office? I think I can believe you since you don't seem to have any problems speaking the truth.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  54. Karl from SF, CA

    Yes Jack,” Let's hope the voters remember some of this crap when the midterm elections roll around later this year”. But, let’s remember all the crap. You know the part where the Republicans have done nothing but stand in the way of getting anything accomplished efficiently or in a bi-partisan manner. Both bills have been on the Internet for us to read so it’s no secret to the literate. We will end up with some combination thereof. There’s no new input to wait for. How about C-SPAN broadcasting the Republicans sitting around the Capital belching and picking their noses while the Democrats actually get something done? I would pay to see that.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  55. Scott Stodden

    No Jack I don't believe at all that there should be closed door or secret negotitations when it comes to getting this healthcare bill passed quicker. Iam a Democrat from Illinois and Jack Im so shocked and appalled that President Obama would do this, he needs to stop doing this and have open negotiations and debate both the House and Senate bills with both Republican's and Democrats. Iam one Democrat who will be voting for Mitt Romney in 2012, not happy with President Obama at all thus far.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    January 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  56. Steve

    @ John in Santa Barbara, how does the Republican actions warrant your Parties actions regarding secret negotiations. You say the Repubs are blocking fine, remove them from it but to do it in secret is unwarranted unless something wrong is being done behind those closed doors !

    January 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  57. Cyrus Webb

    Jack, the President hasn't been able to keep many of his other promises (Repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, closing Gitmo, bringing change, etc), so why should we be surprised at this one that deals with transparency. I think he is learning what many others before him did: CAMPAIGNING is alot easier than actually GOVERNING.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  58. Karen

    Sure, why not. Just pass the damn thing already or toss it out!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  59. Joshua from AZ

    Who are we to say? Those crooks will run congress how they see fit. Just as they have done in the past. They don't care about their constituents and will make decisions in their own, personal, best interest.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  60. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Earmark's and pork spending is what the silence is about it's all about who get's what .

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  61. J Travers Devine

    The Republicans opted out of reasonable debate time after time using nothing but obstructionist tactics on the Health Care Bill. Democrats passed it in the Senate without a single Republican vote. To hell with the Goofy Old Poops party – Democrats are going to be the only ones serious about the issue, they should be the only ones working out the details.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  62. mario ca

    Why wasting time with the gops the party of NO

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  63. Cincinati Kid

    Obama lied?
    You sound like a tea-bagger, Jack. LOL
    YES, Americans wanted the OPENESS Obama promised.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  64. Lawrence

    This is a conspiracy. I kinda felt that this would happen. Why does Obama make promises, but fails to uphold them. Obama should be severly punished for this. This is why everyone voted for him!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  65. DeWitt Gravink

    The Republican Caucuses of both the House and the Senate had ample opportunity to get a seat at the negotiation table. They have made clear that their entire strategy will be delay and obfuscation. They gave up a seat at the table through their own intransigence.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  66. Joe - MN

    How dare YOU.

    It is pointless to continue allowing the Republicans to stall, delay, and scare the American people. They have no intention of ever supporting ANY bill on principle, and time should not be wasted allowing them to put all kinds of amendments in when they won't vote for the bill anyway. It is just a way for them to get what they want in a bill they know will pass, while letting them sit on the side saying they oppose it.

    They steamrolled over our rights for the past 8 year – payback hurts.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  67. karen c

    Absolutely! Negotiating behind closed doors is the only way to get any kind of health care bill to the Presidents desk without having the Republicans derail the entire process. Sorry, but I'd rather stay in the dark and be assured of getting a decent bill than have a repeat of the "games of the GOP"

    January 6, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  68. Mark Clark

    Yes, negotiations should be done in private, otherwise there will be endless posturing and nothing will get done.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  69. Donald Rhodes

    Yes ... Public needs to know.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  70. Jarrod

    Absolutely, Healthcare reform is something that millions of Americans need desperately. If it means effective legislation, I'm all for it. Much rather have an effective government than an open one that spins everything under the party platform umbrella.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  71. Glenn

    Why not,back room negotiations has always been a way for working things out

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  72. Cheryl

    It is enought to make you vomit, Jack! Transparency? And why were the Repubs voted out? Change? Guess, I might have to rethink the whole Tea Party thing. What have we got to lose?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  73. Anne

    Dear Jack-I really don't care how they do it-just get the darn health care reform, PART 1, going! We need affordable choices in health care and we have to start somewhere...it is going to take negotation and fair compromise–it may not be pretty but that is the way it gets done!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  74. Mike

    Talks have been handled this way for the past 8 years.

    Medicare part D.


    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  75. Bill Meyers

    With the Republicans looking for any opportunity to block this bill, I see no other option but to prevent them from doing so. If this includes not holding a formal conference committee and not airing any hearings on C-SPAN, I regret the action but will support it. I would much prefer open hearings with Republicans and Democrats attempting to solve our health care crisis together. Not going to happen, so lets get it done the only way left.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  76. Ken in NC

    They don't have to be secret since Republicans have already stated their only objective is to kill the bill. The need is simply to keep it away from Republicans to prevent further damage and watering down. Anything else is overkill to the tune of 43,000 per year.

    As far as "Openess" is concerned Jack, at our age does either of us really expect a politician to keep his or her word?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  77. Christine M Seattle

    Jack, Why are you jumping all over Obama? Is your memory so short? Do you not remember how many vacation days Bush took, even as our country was under attack? I have never seen such a hardworking man, woman or certainly president. He cannot walk on water. He cannot bring the dead to life. He can, however, work as hard as he works. He is a president to be proud of for countless reasons. I think you are dog-piling the man. Get over it, please. We need to thank our president for doing a thankless job with dignity, and integrity in a culture that affirms bickering and obstruction.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  78. MM, CA

    NO. The reconciliation process should be open and transparent as promised. Evidently we the people do not matter anymore. And, I'm an Obama supporter. How disappointing!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  79. Reba

    No, the meetings should not be held in secret. Please ask your political news team to tell us how to stop it. MIdterm elections will be too late for the outcome of the bill.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  80. Mike Pelonero

    Of course they should. After all, what good is having the "Party of No" involved when the only thing they can say is "NO" to everything.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  81. Joshua Rogers

    Absolutely not!! As usual, I continue to be disgusted by our government. Here's hoping all of congress follows Dodd's lead and actually do something good for our country- GET OUT!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  82. steve - Iowa

    Unfortunately, this is the only way President Obama can get anything done. Inviting the Repubs means nothing gets done.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  83. karen fink

    Unnecessary outrage, Jack. The republicans have stated publicly that they don't want a heath care bill. They didn't vote for either house or senate bill. They didn't want to contribute, now they can't. Maybe they will learn something.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  84. spinbizkitt in anaheim california

    The only thing that has been open through this whole mess is our mouths cause the democrats keep shoveling their vitriolic crap down our throats. Who do they think they are, we elected them to bring change to a corrupt white house for the past 8 years and it's turned out to be more of the same.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  85. Jessie, IL

    Obama is a Statist, he menipulated the American people by the power of this color to get elected along with his lies. There should be no secrects between the health care bills. What obama is doing is replicated everything what te Declatraion opposes, tryanny. I knew the Obama administration was a tyranic one and how they are facisit, people no days are to stupid and nieve to know better and these politians capiltolize on this to gete elected. Then they run the office how they want, were the people at to govern these people? The public should debate what they want for health care, not congress. This is not thier job and it degrads everything what the Declatration stands for.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  86. J.J. Hayes

    Imagine if the founding fathers held secret negotiations, the notes of which debates were kept secret for 50 years, in drafting the Constitution before presenting it to the public! Oh wait that's exactly what they did. . .

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  87. Michael n Seattle

    why not we already know what the republicans will do.
    then when the bill is finished we will all get a chance to read it.
    I can hear them whine now it's too long too many pagesdo those democrats really expect us republicans to read this even though they know we are voting no.
    why waste the air time to see a bunch of grown men cryyyyyy.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  88. Mimi Crandall

    This is a travesty..... the insult to "we the people" is beyond belief.So much for transparancy. We should be on the phone as we speak to make sure this does not occur. We must always remember that we have the power. We must care enough.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  89. Frank B.

    Of course the negotiations should be secret. Imagine the mental strain that parsing their words on the fly would cause our poor old senators. They're trying to LOWER health care costs, not cause a D.C. health care crisis!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  90. Robert Nowak

    Should the negotiations be secret.? Sure, in our new age Socialist society controlled by Comrades Pelosi and Reid. Welcome to Animal Farm.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  91. larry Cerniglia

    Of course they need to bypass the party of NO – Republicans. The Republicans have not tried to solve the nations health care problem only to block Obama. Demint has said that if we can defeat health care it will be Obama's Waterloo. Get real – if they went to conference committee the Republicans would hold up the bill till June. You have picked out the wrong villians in this struggle.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  92. HJO

    It's no secret what will happen to all of them in the net election. There are already signs that at least some won't even wait for the hammer to fall before they run and hide.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  93. Al

    Jack, where ya been? Republicans know they have to do everything possible to stop this bill for purely political reasons. They had their chance but would not trust Obama. Pretending that the rest of this process has anything to do with the congressional process is idealistic dreaming. Let's get this bill over with and focus on Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  94. Brittany from Tallahassee

    It's these "closed-door" and "secret" meetings that prevent this nation from becoming what it should be. America needs to figure out a new way to get things done so the public gets a real say in important matters like health care and are able to truly believe in the people chosen to represent them.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  95. Seartles


    The Democrats have been the sole authors of the bill thus there is no input lost. What we gain is efficiency of exchange- fewer NOs(Republican answer to Can we.....) and more "Let's talk about it"

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  96. Rebecca

    The only reason they want secret negotiations so that more unacceptible items can be written into the final bill (like the sweet deal Nebraska got). No these negotiations should not be secret–we pay the bills and should know what the various parties are saying so we know if they are really advocating for us or just getting self-serving deals forwarded. They keep forgetting "We The People" is not just them.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  97. Mike from Milwaukee, WI

    NO! Its not the fact that "Republicans shouln't be there to promote their agenda". Its un-American, Obama said in his billion dollar campaign that this will be the most transparent presidency ever, Americans have the RIGHT to be able to have access to this health care equation. I have not read the 2 thousand page manuscript, how am I supposed to have trust in something when I have absoluteley no idea what its about?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  98. John - Omaha, Nebraska

    Just flabbergasting.

    Does anybody really think Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson would have behaved this way ???

    January 6, 2010 at 5:20 pm |

    Jack This goes to show how corrupt Obama is. He is bribing elected officials to vote yes on the health care bill. I have to agree with Lawrence Eagleburger's assessment of Obama calling him a charlatan. This is the proof.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  100. Ana Maria

    No one should be surprised by the lack of transparency. It has been going on and on and all we hear are more lies and lies. They are treating the American people as ignorants. Look at Gibb's response yesterday. He must think we are stupid. Let us remember something
    what goes around comes around.

    Sooner or later their arrogance and lies will catch up to them. We the people are too smart to let this go on and on.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  101. Joe Hamden

    Why don't you tell of how many ways The Republicans had to block any action taken!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  102. Tom Breece

    I don't care if Peloci dresses like Bat Woman and dances on the floor of the Senate.


    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  103. Hannah - Phx, AZ

    I'm very glad that I'm not the only one that is disturbed by these actions. Every administration should be accountable for what they promise and not be able to twist what they mean. I knew Obama was never going to go through with all the promises he made in his election but it's amazing that he still has die hard follwers even though he hasn't fulfilled any. I hope that those who would like to be informed on how ridiculous this, research what this healthcare bill actually entails. I promise you that you will be alarmed if not infuriated by the time you finish reading it in its entirety. I am.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  104. Jane Beirne McGuire

    No secret negotiations, no closed doors this is AMERICA. I am shocked at our congressional reps. Jane B. McGuire, New Haven, Ct

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  105. GatoGrande

    Yes,because otherwise the Republican will do their show and invite all the wackos on the right to say no...that's all they are going to do .This is for the american public ,Republicans all they care is their rich buddies(perception is reality) I have not heard a single Republican idea when it comes to this issue and you mean to tell me that they have a plan ????What is it ,give anther tax cut to people that doesn't need it ? Republicans and their tea parties are protesting taxes on cigarettes and booze,2 of the 3 top causes for medical costs to skyrocket ,

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  106. Boyd, Reedsburg, WI

    Jack, I understand your outrage about this, and largely agree. But I would ask that you temper your temper somewhat, with your call to respond by voting the Democrats out over it. Do you really think the Republicans will negotiate health care reform better?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  107. Tom Dorsey

    Unbelievable! It's time to throw out the lying Democrats.

    Tom Dorsey
    Barrington, IL

    January 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  108. W.N. Sanabria

    Transparency would be my preference if we had a set of players that is really searching for the best solution for the country and an informed populace. What we have is a Republican party just trying to stop anything that might be politically advantageous to the President, a health care industry trying to protect their outrageous practices and profits, a small but loud group of extremists who have no connection with reality and a media that is more oriented towards fostering controversy for the sake of enterntainment. Given all of this, we may be better off with a "smoke-filled room deal" if the right parties are there.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  109. Bill, Illinois

    This move has the transparency of a Black Hole

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  110. kristy

    Yes, the GOP'ers aren't doing anything, it seems to me, but delaying the process. They should open it up to the public, but not the republicans. They don't need them anyway. I bet a lot more will be gone in 2010 too.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  111. Nicole

    Yes, they should be secret. I trust those having the talks much more than I trust the insurance and drug industries and the Repubs. I hope they finally use their power to do the right thing by us Americans – give us AFFORDABLE UNIVERSAL health insurance. It seems that secret talks are the only way to get what we desparately need.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  112. Fred

    This is the most transparent event in American history! What are you talking about? I don't care if they close the doors to get the job done – just get it done! We are tired of delays and set backs!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  113. Mark

    Scrutinize the final bill carefully. Like a game of Where's Waldo, find the pork for the conferees.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  114. jessica

    I think that reconcilliation is the answer at this point – republicans have made it very very clear they dont want to do anything to help reform heath and plan to do everything to prevent it from happening. So, for those of us who elected Obama to make good on health care reform promises...this is the only option left.

    That said, they shouldnt be secret. We the voters need to hold Obama's feet to this fire – I want to know who's in who's pockets during the negotiations.

    What I dont understand is why more public media figures arent drawing more attention to this and making a call for all voters who elected Obama to beat down his door and demand that he make good on the easy promises – like transparency.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  115. Joepa

    That is why the senators from PA told me they have no comment. They didn't read the bill and they don't want anybody to be able to aks inteligent questions.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  116. Richard Nemanick

    It is all in the time tested policy of corruption, "the end justifies the means". People who do not study history forget that Social Security was passed with openness. Medicare was passed with openness. The Dems refused to even look at ways to bring down costs, such as defensive medicine cause by reckless trial lawyers or allowing policies to be sold across state lines, both which would have brought down the costs for all of us. Instead they have promised to cut $500 billion out of medicare, without cutting medicare. If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn you will want to buy. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Dems have absolute power.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  117. Tom Cook

    Absolute Power Corrupts! Hence the House, Senate and this President! Enough Said!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  118. Cheryl, DE

    Jack, get real.
    Anyone with a bit of integrity has to admit that this administration is far more transparent than the last. Although every hearing wasn't televised, enough were to give the public a good idea of who's working and who's obstructing.
    After watching (on C-Span) Sen. Enzi painfully object to all of his parties amendments in order to stall the bill, it more than obvious that Republicans are not going to offer any support what so ever.
    Meanwhile, Americans are suffering.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  119. Joe

    Just like the "stimulus." Stimulus money went to state and local governments, it was used to preserve public sector jobs, public sector jobs mean continued union dues to ASFCME and SEIU which means continued donations to the Democratic party.

    The "stimulus" bill was just disguised political contributions from the government to Democratic candidates to Congress.

    The "healthcare" bill is the same kind of covert operation. The true goal is to increase public sector employment, thereby increasing public employee union dues, thereby increasing union contributions to Democratic candidates.

    I really, really, really do NOT like my tax dollars used this way!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  120. Pam (from Lakeland, FL)

    I am totally disappointed in the way this process is being handled. I concur with health care for all Americans, but do we have to act like two year olds to make it happen. I am very disappointed in Obama. How dare he push healthcare out to the American people, without us all being part of the process. Tell me again what our country was founded on democracy or socialism??

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  121. Drew

    Get'r Done

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  122. BAGMom

    "Informal" isn't equivalent to "secret." You and everyone else know about it, so how can it be reasonably seen as secret? Conference committee meetings are not open to the public or the media - does that mean they're secret? You think Medicare and Medicaid were created in open committee? They weren't. Both these health programs - which a plurality of the public support - were created in the cliched smoky room, in closed door meetings. When the prescription drug benefit was created, the Republicans locked the Dems out of the room! And yet - despite some grave faults (the donut hole) - seniors by and large love it. Save your outrage for something that's worth it and let the people we elected to govern do just that. We can't run everything by plebescite and public opinion poll.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  123. moderate01

    If there was any chance the republicans would actually try to contribute, instead of playing political football and just using the system as a way of stalling, thereby making the uninsured stay uninsured longer, the i say -please, join the debate. Unfortunatley, we already know they have no intention of making any contribution, so instead of doing what's best for the politicians the democrats are doing what's best for the country, which is to get this thing passed as soon as possible. I say bravo to them – it's about time they played hardball instead of sucking up to a party that is more interested in politics than in governing.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  124. Norbert leute

    Gee..why is everyone surprise about these secert meetings. We elected a President who had no health plan, (left it to his party), got a noble Peace Prize for doing nothing, made many promises that even Santa couldn't deliever, and there is no accountaqbility anywhere. On top of this, we elected more do nothing to congress who have done nothing but flushed our hard earn money down the toilet. I'm sorry they did protect Walls Street bonuse, saved many executives jobs, gave a wink and smile to those to enure their reelection chest are full. How can we have transparency when we are being feed a buch of crap?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  125. Mike from Ohio

    Every one is still dancing around the issue here, Where is the transparancy we were promised? ASK,ASK,ASK,ASK, until Pres. Obama answers. Be loud be clear and make it a priority to get an answer. We're getting lied to and screwed and the press is not holding Obama accountable. I voted for the guy (not his party) and he owes me and answer.

    If Obama can step up and hold news conferences on terrorists and cops and citizens conflicts and tell us how dispointed he is then he needs to know how disappointed we are. I'll let him know in November later this year.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  126. James Wilson

    Considering how our government has been operating lately, I'd say "sure" , let them have their secret meetings. Maybe they can actually accomplish something for a change. It will still have to muster public scrutiny once out-of-the-closet.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  127. bill lang

    The compromise bill which ultimately will becom law will be a bill that would not have passed either House of Conhgress. It therefore dooes not represent the wishes of the populous and therefore should not become law.

    The entire processx of buying senate votes is a disgrace to our Democracy.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  128. Joe

    With so many blatant lies about the obvious, what other deceptions are we being told? I'm 62 years old and have never been more disturbed about the conduct and ethics of members of Congress as I am today. I truly am afraid of where this Congress is taking our nation. I fear this is the end of America as we have known it.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  129. Nan in Nevada

    Yes, Jack – the American public DESPERATELY needs health care reform. I don't generally believe that the ends justify the means but if it takes secret negotiations to pass health care reform then go for it! I will even ship in the cigars and cognac!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  130. Gaylon

    Secret negotiations mean just one thing..."Kickbacks". Thats right, under the table money exchange for special privilege. The mid term elections will reflect what middle America thinks of the Dems arrogance. I can't wait! This independent has learned a forever lesson.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  131. Chris

    The Republicans don't negotiate in good faith, so their can't be any debate. This bill is basically the opposition bill to HillaryCare. How many of today's Republicans would vote for that bill now? If we opened debate to the right, simply more people would die because of lack of insurance.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  132. Jorge from Missouri

    How dare they? You have to be joking! Why would the dems invite the members of the Grand Obstructionist Party to the reconcialition meetings of the house and senate bills. The word is reconciliation, something that went out the window from the first day (actually before) President Obama took the oath of office. The personal and political attacks against the president have been unprecedented, at least in my lifetime. The only Republican they should invite is the lone representative from Louisiana that voted for the health care bill that the GOP so vehemently opposed with no alternative. How dare they? How dare you! The only "crap" (as you so "professionally" stated in your broadcast) I heard came out of your mouth. I put you in the same category as Beck and Rush, charming, open-minded humanitarians.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  133. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    NEVER!! This is not a dictatorship!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  134. Amy from Thousand Oaks, CA

    I don't see a problem with this, since the Republicans have already demonstrated that they don't care to come to the table with anything helpful. If they wanted to do anything but outright obstruct legislation, then I bet they'd be able to give input.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  135. lstro

    You bet cha, at what point do you realize the GOP is not going to agress on anything. They will continue to do and say the complete opposite of the President. So why continue playing their games. Can you now see why this country has been hated so much by other countries during the Bush/Cheney era. They are shameless.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  136. Arthur Bellinzoni

    Republicans have shown no interest whatsoever in real health insurance reform. They are owned by the insurance industry. So why include them in any conversations, just to enable them to delay the process even more? Do whatever it takes to get a bill to the President as quickly as possible. We are tired of Republican obstructionism!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  137. A.P. from Fremont, Ca.

    I like this decision better than the lone two people who decided for us to go to war in Iraq.........

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  138. Mark Lettes

    Hey Jack,

    I have not been so angry or frustrated with a tone deaf government than I was way back when I was protesting the Vietnam war....then too, the government did not care what the public wanted....then too, they thought they knew best what was best for us, the great unwashed. As a registered Democrat, this may be the most disapointing, anger inducing set of developments since I became a politically sentient human being. Health care, cap and trade and the stimulus.....all quickly enacted with no full disclosure......SOME TRANSPARENCY!!

    Angry in Aurora,

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  139. Jim Z

    This Ministry of Truth cannot work effectively when they are being harassed with petty questions about who has to cough up a couple of trillion dollars to pay for it, so of course all potential naysayers should be locked out.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  140. Andrig Miller

    To answer your question, of course NOT! Congress is supposed to represent its constituents, and clearly they are not doing that at all. They are doing anything they can to get the legislation done, in spite of the fact that the majority of their constituents don't want the reform that is in the legislation!

    This is ridiculous. I, for one, have decided that I will not vote for a single incumbent candidate regardless of party in the mid-term elections.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  141. JK

    Not having C-SPAN camera to cover the Healthcare negotiation specially after C-SPAN has offered to cover, will be the dooms day for OBAMA administration as he will be undoing his own election commitment. He will prove himself to the public that he nothing more than same politician who will promise any thing and every thing to get elected. And after the election is over ASK the voters DID I PROMISE YOU THAT ?? I DON'T RECOLLECT.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  142. James

    For those who really want this from someone who gets government healthcare just be ready for it. Long lines/waits, subpar service at time the list goes on. The long waits for a simple knee or ankle surgery can take months and this is for those who are deploying. It took lots of fighting to get my son eartubes while deployed. So best of luck with what we get.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  143. muaythai

    The American people all know that health care reform is needed but not when people are out of a job and living under a bridge or in a cardboard box. The Obama administration has an agenda to completely change our country by total government take over. Their socialistic and marxists goal is to radically change our capitalistic society. Obama's association with radicals like Rev Wright, Van Jones, Mark Lloyd, Bill Ayers, Anita Dunn, Jarrett and other far left radical losers speaks for itself. He needs to be tossed out in 2012 along with his cronies.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  144. RichieRich

    This bill has already been debated ad nauseum. The Republicans will add nothing to the debate but diversion, scaremongering, and corporate welfare. It is in the best interest of the Congress and the people of the US to get a compromise bill together as quickly as possible, have a vote, and move on to more pressing matters.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  145. Bob


    Healthcare is the Dems' baby. They're the ones who have been talking about it, campaigning on it, promising it. The GOP has openly admitted their goal is to delay passage for the purpose of killing it. NOT change it, enhance it or even make it a little more palatable to them. Kill it.

    If someone flat-out tells you they want to kill your baby, would you let them near it?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  146. Jack Lennox

    Not no, but absolutely no. Our President made a promise and there is absolutely no reason why he can't at least keep this one. Sometimes promises get broken through no fault of your own, but in this case he has absolute total control. I am amazed that we don't have a public outrage the likes of which would rival the Boston Tea Parties that sparked the founding of our country.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  147. Joey Mayes

    I wonder if you thought you would get such an even breakdown in the answers to this question.

    It seems to be the only way to get anything done in Washington.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  148. Rod (Il.)

    I think it was all sumed up during the presidential speach when from the gallery a voice was heard saying. "your a liar".

    That applies to most of them on the almight hill.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  149. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Jack, Why am I not surprised! It seams that Obama has forgotten alot of his promises. Maybe you should send him a tape. If he was the "HOPE", he's become the "NOPE"! Nope, he's not going to change anything. Nope, he's not going to have a transparent administration. Nope, he's not going to help middle America, who's bleed money getting upper America (Banking Thieves) back to business as usual. And "NOPE" I'm not voting for him again and I'm looking real hard at who I can vote out.
    ..This is such a MAJOR BILL, that he'd better have everything out in the open. If not he's a crook.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  150. Frank Ridgefield, CT


    Until the members of Congress have to live under the health rules they are creating for us I have no confidence that the public's best interests are being considered

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  151. Rick

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely! This is a perfect example.

    Windsor, CA

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  152. Dave

    The American people were duped by Obama and now we are seeing him and his crew for the power hungry and corrupt politicans they really are. When are the next elections; I hope America survives until then so we can boot all of these fakes out...

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  153. Richard

    I have never been so mad in my life. For all those idiots who voted these democratic clowns into office, I hope you're happy with your "hope and change". What hope? What change? Oh...I just got it, we are no longer pretending, the democrats really ARE socialists. Welcome to France..parlez vous Francais?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  154. Mary, Texas

    Unbelievable ... and people on these posts CONTINUE to support BO because of what ... because they hate and continue to hate George Bush?!!? GET OVER IT ALL AND PAY ATTENTION – NOT to a specific party but to the self-serving, selfish kings and queens allegedly representing the people IN SECRECY – some representation that is. I'm waiting to hear Queen Pelosi say "Let them eat cake ..." EVERYONE NEED TO BE VOTED OUT ASAP!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  155. Voter from California

    No, they should not. Everything should be out in the open, people have the right to know. I want to see what happens about abortion coverage, taxes, medicare, the house and senate bills have differences and we have the right to find out what goes on during the negotiation process.

    However, I am not surprised Obama and the democrats are trying to keep it all secret. Obama has broken many promises, and I predict he will not be re-elected in 2012.

    I can't believe I donated money to his campaign. Well, he does not get my vote in 2012, and as for 2010, I will not even bother to see the candidates' names, I am voting a straight republican ticket.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  156. Wayne, Duluth, GA

    There should be no secret sessions ever. Why should anything be a secret we already know that our gov't has screwed up big time in a bunch of areas. Since when is a company not allowed to fail? Since when can the fed just throw our money away to save corporations that deserve to fail?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  157. Alan Duretz

    Sure, as long as the secret meeting is transparent, bi-partisan, and allows our elected officials to bid their vote as remuneration for pocket lining projects.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  158. Joe

    I think it's terrible that it's come to this- but what options have the Republicans left them?

    We've needed health insurance reform for decades. Congress has been debating it since the summer. After all the concessions made for them, they're still not budging on it. The Republicans have made it clear that they're not interested in fixing this problem for our country; they just want to drag out the issue so they get more seats back in 2010.

    If it's a choice between "accomplishing it in secret" and "not accomplishing it at all", I'll take the former.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  159. suresh


    I think it is a brilliant idea. As such the GOPers are not going to do beyound say NO on any issue that Obama wants to implement. Why waste time with these Naysayers? Let us get the people's work done. Majority of Americans do want healthcare reform. The Republicans want status quo. So only way to get anything done is to keep the Republicans out of it.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  160. Art

    Fire every one on both sides and start over !
    our gov, is a joke –everyone needs to stand up and remind them they
    work for the people ! the time now

    January 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  161. Jim

    What would we say about the leader of Iran if he did this to the public in his country! Honestly, this all scares me and I believe both parties should resign and we shouldl just start over with a 2 term limit with the requirement that you have to have held a normal paying job for more than 5 years before being elected.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  162. Steve, Spokane, WA

    Jack, Thanks for posting such candid thoughts, especially on this site. I can't believe it made the homepage! I fully agree with your thoughts regarding this issue. So what do we do? ...Leave the opposing party out of the process, but at least open the mics to the public. The two-party systems has let us down on both fronts again. Does the political system have to crash and burn to the ground before the citizens of this great nation stand up and put a new bread of leadership in place?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  163. Mike in MN

    Jack, the process should be in the open. Deals are being made in the dark. The American people deserve to see the process in the light of day. Obama and Pelosi promised as much. The behind closed doors, seceret deals that both parties used in the past should be in the past. Obama promised change going forward. Based on what I have seen so far, that looks like it was just a lie to get votes.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  164. jack

    This guy Obama turned out to be the biggest fake we have had in the White House in a long time. He will not get re-elected god willingly. He is a liar and a snake.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  165. A.E.

    If it includes a true public option and negates all those nice hefty bribes the Senate used to pass health care reform, then sure why not. On the other hand (and probably more realistic) if they just want to screw the public a bit more and not let who is doing the screwing, then absolutely no. The negotiations should be open, recorded, and replayed like car commercials during a football game. Wake up America, your country has been bought and paid for by special interests and the party of No.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  166. Charley

    I am shocked at the number of people that are okay with closed door deliberations on anything short of national security issues. The point is not that the Republicans might stonewall something, but that this is a Democracy (okay, a Republic) and this is how legislation is passed in Communist countries, not the USA.

    The strength of America is precisely that any legislation worth passing is only worth passing if it can stand up to the scrutiny of the opposition. Not having following legislative procedure and closing out the Republicans, and the public, on a matter so important is quite possibly the worst thing that the Democrats could do for Democracy in America. How can we decry fouled elections in other countries if we cannot even have open votes in our own legislature?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  167. Tina Tx

    I am sure if the Republicans were doing healthcare I bet they would stay behind close doors. Look what how they railroaded the wars over the Dems?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  168. Chuck Wright

    Secret negotiations should absolutely be used at this point in the health care bill's resolution. The Republications have shown no interest in participating in this legislation and have unanimously voted against the bills at every opportunity . They have made it abundantly clear that their only objective is to kill health care legislation. In that atmosphere secret negotiations are the only alternative.

    Perhaps in the future Republicans might be persuaded by actions like this to be less the "party of no."

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  169. Ray Flores

    Secret???? There's no secret that they are hiding something. I sure would like someone to publish who receives lobbyist money and from whom and how much. I am a firm supporter of Health Care Reform, but without all the special interest groups bribery. The Democratic Congress needs to make the negotiations public just to keep all parties concerned honest and working for the good of the American people.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  170. Terry - Virginia

    Obviously not, but these people have all forgotten that they were elected to represent their constituents. They are the very essence of what gives politics a bad name. The Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  171. Eric in WV

    Jack, I couldn't disagree more with a lot of the comments posted. Voters do remember and in the cycle of 24 hour news this WILL be brought back up in 2012. One person commented what's the big deal, Bush broke his promises too. I thought Obama was supposed to be different, you know, change we can believe in. Well, I haven't seen any; it's business as usual.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |

    Jack, How can democrats get anything done when the party of (No) keep trying to stop the show? If democrats have to to do the bill behind closed doors then so be it. Remember the president tried everything under the sun to get the party of (No) to come aboard this ship. I think we will see the bill on CSpan when it is finished.

    Thank You.
    Sincerely Charmaine (D)

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  173. Shelly, Lawrenceville GA

    It must not be a secret if we all know about it. Frankly, if they don't meet about it and get it done, then our grand Congress will get nothing done as they normally do. The output can't be a secret; it still has to be voted on so who cares if they meet "secretly" to hash out the details? Geesh – we're all a little over-sensitive these days. Let the work get done, then we can all criticize it.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  174. Chris

    Secret negotiations...sounds like Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have been studying under Hu Jintao after all.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  175. Wilma Hoskins

    It does not speak well for our democracy that we have become so polarized and ideological that it would be impossible to have the health care bill openly discussed to reach a compromise in the policy decisions. Unfortunately, the Republicans would only be obstructionists rather than try to reach a compromise and all involved from both parties would be quick to appear on cable television lauding their parties very partisan position. Unless the type of nonsense we see now ends, our country will not be in the position to solve the major issues facing our coutry. We desperately need some grown ups in Congress rather than the lobbyists calling all the shots.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  176. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Jack did you ever see how they make a hot dog or what goes inside it, No? but you go to a ball game and every one is eating one. Health care is one big hot dog.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  177. Jimmy in Concord, NH

    To everybody (and it seemed to be at least half) calling the Republicans the "party of NO." I could just as easily call the 2009 Democrats the "party of YES." It depends whether you think this health care legislation is progress in the first place.

    What exactly has the GOP been the party of NO for? NO backroom deals, NO bribes at our expense, NO rising costs in a system that already extorts the sick, NO shutting out the American people from the bill that may change our lives more than any other in recent history.

    Hey, maybe I'll switch parties. After a year of a Democrat-controlled executive branch, I'd slap a "Party of NO" badge on my shirt and wear it with pride.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  178. Jarrod Rager, Colorado

    Do the ends ever justify the means? Should we sacrifice one promise for progress? One value? How about two, or three? To be fair, politicians, republicans and democrats, have done this for years. An open and honest government is almost a misnomer at this point in the USA. What a shame we would be to our nation's founders and what a shame we are to our children's children.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  179. Ann Smith from Ventura, California

    The bottomline, Jack, is that we need those reforms now. Deals are how jobs get done in the real world. I'd rather have secrecy than have the healthcare industry derail the reforms. Blame unruly town hall meetings and tea parties that drowned out all constructive debate very early on in the process. Lets just get the job done and move on.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  180. wm scot

    For all those that are un in the air about the back room tactics just remember that this is for the protection of the people unlike the back room tactics and sneaking in the back door of the Whitehouse of the Bush administration with the Oil and energy Executive that got us into high gas and energy prices plus our invovement in Iraq !

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  181. Dennis Cabral in Ventura County, California

    Why not, Jack? Cheney had no problem keeping all of the Bush adminsitrtion's energy policy discussions secret, and that policy had as profound an effect on our Nation as this one potentially will. The Dems have tried to stay open on this issue and all they've gotten thus far is consistent "No"s from the Republicans and all kinds of crazy opposition and misinformation thrown at them. No "honest debate"! And the Media has gone along with it, more preoccupied with inflaming than informing. We do NOT need anymore vacuous crybabying from the "Party of No," or from a Media that is more inclined to sensationalize and misrepresent than actually provide accurate reporting and analysis. I consider you one of the better in the bunch, Jack, but in this case, you should "chill." We need health care reform now! And the proposed bills are basically a good step.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  182. john in NC

    Of course, if that is what President Obama wants. We elected him to change the way things are done, so let him have his way. He may not always be right, but you must admit that he is never wrong.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  183. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    It appears that this whole administration is turning into a big farce. The President's legacy will be" Broken Promises." I recently found out that buried in the bill is a section that will make people pay anywhere from$160 to$240 a month for long term care – unless they opt out. Now,you tell me,how can people opt out if they don't even know this exists? This bill in it's entirerty should be dropped and the problem analysed by a special commission. This rush,rush is only making a mess out of things and as that hidden section does – it makes people in their early work years pay for the people in nursing homes now.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  184. Jim from Chicago

    Jack, come on. It's disingenuous to call these secret negotiations. They are using the same procedures that were used in the previous administration to push through contentious legislation. Would you rather we view clown practice on C-span for the next two weeks, or get real action on health care?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  185. Sally


    I don't care if they have the talks on the moon as long as they come out of the talks and place our health care along the same lines as the rest of the industrialized world. Universal!!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  186. Tami

    I'm a democrat, I'm middle class. I work my behind off to make a good life for myself. Obama keeps talking about doing this because the people want it. He's never mentioned anything that would benefit me.
    I don't approve of rushing this process. Why? What is there to hide?

    One word comes to mind when I think of Obama: Impeachment!!!!!

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  187. john connarn

    My civics teacher who taught me,about 50 years ago, how laws were made must be spinning in her grave as she watches the health bill fiasco. The people who are most impacted by this law are left out of how the process is going; not just the Republicans. Even the dialog between Blitz & Gloria focused on only the Dems & Republicans. Let them know also that the PUBLIC would like to know how this law is being made.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |

    Since the bill is unconstitutional on many levels, I expect the Supreme Court to strike it down once it passes. No worries.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  189. William

    Generally I like what you have to say but it isn't Obama who has been an obstructionist during the health care reform debate. I have never seen such partisanship in Congress or by those Tea-Party hypocrites. The GOP is hell bend on saying "No" to anything and everything Obama proposes or says. Remember, Obama won by a majority unlike Bush's slim and questionable elections, yet managed to shove Program D of Medicare as an unfunded mandate down the throats of the American people, using the Reconciliation Act to pass it into law. Don't forget it was Cheney that broke the tie vote. It is no wonder that after a year of hearing nothing but "No" that Obama is finally fed up and heeding the wishes of the people elected him. It is time he stands up to the GOP if he intends to remain relevant.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  190. Michael Beckner, Las Vegas, NV


    With all due respects, there is a difference between "Secret" and "not open to the public." Secret implies something sinister is going on....and I don't think there is any evidence to support that. As the Republicans have taken a posture of obstructionism, there is no point in inviting them. Politics as that old saying goes, is not to be watched if you're squeamish about how sausage is made. Sure there will be wheeling and dealing going on behind those closed doors, but that's how laws are made, ugly, but necessary if you're going to get anything done or any sausage made.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  191. Jim in Alabama

    Jack, I'm sure that Obama and the Democrats are at the end of their rope with the contentious Republicans. They never intended to negotiate in good faith and have shown it at every turn. They have become a party of obstruction, lies, misrepresentation of facts, racism, and hate mongering rather than working with those across the aisle to come up with legislation that would actually reform health care and provide affordable insurance for all americans. It's disgraceful how they've behaved.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  192. jinpa

    Right on, Jack. You've hit the nail on the head. It's more business as usual in Washington and the breaking of all the promises about transparency is deplorable. It leaves those of us who hoped for integrity, honesty and openness VERY discouraged. So much for the Democratic process.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  193. Kay, Chicago

    This is a negotiation between the House and the Senate, and they can set the rules about how they want to do it, and how open they want to be. President Obama can't do anything but express an opinion on the process unless and until a bill reaches his desk. That's what you get with three co-equal branches of government...

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  194. Joe, va beach va

    Bravo! Normally you're liberal rants nauseate me but for once you're spot on! Our elected officials are nothing more than liars and crooks. I, for one, will remeber this fiacso come election time. Hopefully, I'll have Independant candidates to choose from because both Dems and Reps are only out for themselves...nothing more.

    The only way to fix congress is to require term limits on their time in office. Until then we're stuck with the fools we have.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  195. Mark from IL.

    You are asking the wrong question. Both versions of the respective bills are public, There Is No Secrecy! These talks in conference are just that...talks. More progress would be made without giving the Republicans one more media platform to make a disgrace of themselves. I for one am an independant and i am sick of hearing the Republicans complaing and doing everything they possible can to promote real progress in this country! They had their chance and would not participate "at all" in the creation of these bills and now they want to act like they care??

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  196. Ed in Iowa

    Facing all the attacks on every little thing, what else can they do? The Republicans did it, so turn about is apparently fair play. I'd prefer transparency to this, but since the GOP insists on turning things into a circus and can't show the legislative process the respect it deserves, I'd say under the circumstances I agree with this move.

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  197. Bill - Kansas

    What's unbelievable is so many of the posts here actually agree with the government using secrecy to get a bill passed. It's looks like the message board of some other country.

    The problems of this country are because of the people. Not the government. The people make up the government. WE vote them in, WE keep voting them in.

    Who else is there to blame Jack?

    January 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  198. Efrain Osorio

    Bull feathers, where is the leadership, openness and honesty Mr President. Yes the republicans would most likely delay the process, however, the American public deserves to know the truth. Good luck in the midterm elections, you just handed the Republicans a big victory come November

    January 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm |

    The Health Care debate has been anything but that. It's been a secret process from the beginning. There has been a substantial amount of misinformation and too many differing bills to know where we are in the process and no time to read and digest the bill before a vote is necessary. Senators and Congressman/women have been bought off to support health care as we've seem too often in this process and there is too much "pork" in the process. And, as you've stated, the transparency promised has been thrown out the window. This is actually worse than "politics as usual" which the President promised he would change. All this is very counter to what the American people were promised and deserve and we will not stand for it.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  200. Nancy - Tulsa, OK

    I am always warey of secret negotiations by anyone. What are they hiding? What do they not want us to see? Since the Democrats cannot even get these bills passed in their own party without coercion, threats, and bought votes, we have to assume there will be more illicit deals being made, and after the firestorm of criticism, I'm sure they do not want these deals broadcast!.

    January 6, 2010 at 6:05 pm |