Rep. Ryan to Sebelius: Why Won't You Testify?

Image: Rep. Ryan to Sebelius: Why Won't You Testify?

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 01:37 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' refusal to testify on Obamacare before the House Budget Committee is "raising serious questions" about the administration's "commitment to transparency and accountability," committee chairman Paul Ryan says.

The Wisconsin Republican, who has called on Sebelius to resign, planned to send a letter to Sebelius Wednesday asking for her cooperation. But it won't be his first written request to the secretary, reports Politico, which obtained a copy of his latest letter on Tuesday.

Editor's Note : Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law

Ryan said he plans to release several letters dating back to Aug. 15 that show a pattern of Sebelius refusing to testify before his committee on the progress of implementing the healthcare reform law.

"Your continued silence on these important inquiries after refusing to testify raises serious questions about the administration's commitment to transparency and accountability," Ryan tells Sebelius in his latest letter.

In the Aug. 15 letter, he asked her to appear before his committee on Sept. 11, but her staff said she was unavailable, reports Fox News.

A week later, on Aug. 22, Ryan asked her for an organizational chart of Obamacare implementation efforts, offices involved, number of full-time employees working on it, and all relevant spending items.

He asked for the list by Sept. 11, but it never came, according to Fox.

Ryan, a strong opponent of Obamacare, has called for Sebelius' resignation in the aftermath of the HealthCare.gov website crash and its continued problems, which still are preventing most Americans who visit the site from enrolling for insurance coverage.

The government has spent at least $394 million to build the online federal insurance-exchange marketplace, and President Barack Obama has promised to resolve the problems by bringing in some of the nation's top computer-tech experts.

As Budget Committee chairman, Ryan wants to know how much additional money the administration plans to spend on the so-called "tech surge" to fix HealthCare.gov.

Sebelius, meanwhile, plans to appear next week before multiple committees on Capitol Hill, HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told Politico Tuesday.

As for Ryan's demands that she appear back in September, Peters said her boss was unavailable on the dates Ryan had requested her to appear, but is working to supply the committee with the information he requested.

Sebelius also is under fire from other Republicans for reported plans to skip a congressional hearing Thursday on problems with the Obamacare website to attend an event in Boston focused on mental illness.

Sebelius has not testified before Ryan's committee since June 2011, but has made frequent appearances before other congressional panels, including the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Altogether, according to Politico, she has testified on Capitol Hill nine times this year.

Editor's Note : Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law

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