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Democrat Jim Himes proposes bill mandating on-camera White House press briefings

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The Connecticut lawmaker wants to force the White House to hold on-camera briefings. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., on Thursday proposed legislation that would mandate the White House hold at least two on-camera press briefings per week.

"The White House has begun to dramatically, and in an historically unprecedented way, reduce the media and therefore the American people's access to the thinking of the president. And that's not healthy. So now is the time. #firstamendment #freepress," Himes wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

The Free Press Act was introduced as the White House has decreasingly scheduled on-camera briefings, instead opting for ones that allow reporters to tape the discussion with their handheld recording devices or cell phones.

A study conducted by Himes' office found Trump's press office has held 71 open briefings in his nearly six months in office, less than half of the 114 former President Barack Obama held in the same amount of time. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, held 74 briefings, while Bill Clinton had 152 meetings.

President Trump has repeatedly hounded the "mainstream media" as "fake news" for its continued coverage about the federal and congressional investigations into allegations he colluded with the Russian government to win last year's election. The attacks on the press have damaged his relationship with reporters.