U.S. Capitol Just Issued Strict New Limitations on Reporters

Political reporters are facing the possibility of harsh restrictions when it comes to interviewing Senators in the U.S. Capitol building.

NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Kasie Hunt tweeted out the new rules being imposed on reporters, explaining that the rules were just issued out by the U.S. Senate Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery.

This change in rules is a stark departure from what has been the traditional norms of access for reporters to senators. As Hunt explained in her tweet, filming interviews with senators in the hallways of Congress has been the established procedure for years.

The new restrictions require reporters to obtain new permissions from senators and the rules committee, Hunt reports.

Another reporter, Matthew Smith of WXYZ Detroit, explains how absurd the new rules would be, and how the limitations would create a huge barrier for his work.

The Radio and Television Correspondents Gallery, the body that has made the new rules, exists to “act on [behalf of Congress] to facilitate electronic members of the electronic media covering news events on Capitol Hill,” according to its website. If implemented, the new rules would greatly limit when Senators could be interviewed by news media, and whether access to them at all would be granted in public areas on Capitol Hill.

Hunt is encouraging those concerned with the restrictive rules to contact Congress directly.

The Senate Radio and TV Gallery also has a Twitter page you can message, although they haven’t been active since the middle of May as of this writing.

At least a few senators have come out in opposition to the new rules. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tweeted out that he and other lawmakers “can fend for themselves” and shouldn’t fear the media asking them questions in the halls, and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee, similarly voiced opposition to the rules.

About the Author

Chris Walker
Chris Walker been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.