Washington (CNN) - An official with the Health and Human Services Department said Friday that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not available to attend a congressional hearing next week on the Obamacare website glitches.
"Given that the government was shut down until today, we were given a very short timeline to respond to this request," the official added.
Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is holding next week's hearing, Thursday blasted the Secretary for "rejecting" the committee's invitation.
"Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress," he said in a statement, referring to her appearance last week on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
A spokeswoman for HHS said the department is in "close communication" with the House committee about its request for the Secretary to testify Thursday, October 24.
"We are in close communication with the committee and have expressed our desire to be responsive to their request," spokeswoman Joanne Peters said.
In addition to the congressional hearing, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa last week wrote to Sebelius demanding information about the rollout problems. Joining him was Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking Republican on the Senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions.
Read more: Congressional fight over Obamacare turns to website woes
– CNN's Ashley Killough, Adam Aigner-Treworgy, Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd contributed to this report.
Then make her available.
Why do they even need her to be there? She' won't get in a word between the blowhards of the panel grandstanding and leveling wild accusations. I mean, is anyone on that panel going to actually change their mind based on anyone's testimony? Will her input have any bearing at all on the conclusion of the hearing that some staffer has probably already written? There are situations where hearings such as these are really necessary, but this is nonsense. The GOP has done all in their power to sabotage the ACA and now they want answers as to why it isn't working perfectly?
There is a magic word that needs to be given, SUPEONA HER. ACA is self destructing, day by day.
Not available? Doesn't she work for the people of this country? Don't we pay her salary? Unacceptable.