GOP evacuates media from Senate halls to ram through secret health care repeal


A shocking new directive bans Capitol Hill reporters from interviewing senators without advance permission from the Rules Committee.

As the Senate prepares to pass an Obamacare repeal bill in secret, Capitol hill reporters were told Tuesday they can no longer film interviews with senators in the hallway, as they've been doing every day for years.

The new conditions are striking. Not only does the senator being interviewed have to consent in advance, but the Senate Rules Committee must give permission for the conversation to take place.

The move comes as the Republican Senate prepares to pass the historically unpopular repeal of Obamacare with a bill kept secret from the American public, as well as most of the senators themselves.

As Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut noted, the timing is quite suspicious:

Reporters responded with immediate outrage, as the unprecedented move affects much of the standard coverage on Capitol Hill.

Bloomberg reporter Kevin Cirilli complained about his sudden lack of access as well:

The Senate Radio TV Press Gallery directive also bans unapproved liveshots and stakeouts, as well as hallway interviews.

NBC senior reporter Kasie Hunt responded to the news by tweeting out the Capitol phone number and a request for Americans to call for journalists to be allowed to hold elected representatives accountable.

In a week like this, where the health care of 23 million Americans hangs in the balance, accountability and transparency could not be more important.