HHS official: Sebelius not available to testify Thursday
October 18th, 2013
04:53 PM ET
8 years ago

HHS official: Sebelius not available to testify Thursday

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.

Filed under: Health care • HHS • Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The government is forced to use low bid contractors and vendors. Qualified applicants don't want to deal with the red tape and aggravation that bidding a government project entails. Therefore, less than excellent companies get these jobs. This is what happened with the group that designed the Obama Care website. They didn't plan on enough bandwidth and server capacity. Congress knows this, but like the petulant babies they are, will turn this into another manufactured "crises".

    October 18, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. GOP = Greed Over People

    Everyone does realize, government employees did NOT build or implement Obamacare(s) right?

    That was done by the darlings of capitalism, the private sector working as consultants FOR the government.

    Instead of Secretary Sebelius, perhaps the GOP should be interviewing the Presidents of those private companies?

    I mean, surely, a consultant working to install a new health system, that has previously worked for private insurance companies, would NEVER fall prey to bribes or trying to sabotage the new exchange system, right?

    Wow, that "conspiracy theory" was terrifyingly GOPesque.

    After a shower, and an apple martini, I will be back to my old self!

    October 18, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    After all, we have do not have any past experience of private contractors doing illicit actions when dealing with the Government, right?

    It is not like a Halliburton sub lost entire PALLETS of cash, approaching the amount of 1 billions dollar bills, in Iraq, right?

    Oh, wait...back to the shower and the bar.

    October 18, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. loving it

    I like this lady's style.

    Darrel – sorry no time for your witch-hunt, the HHS has got a job you prevented them from doing. LOL!

    October 18, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Twenty four BILLION (WITH A "B") in 16 days, and now this manufactured "scandal". Yeah, the reichwing is REALLY fiscally conservative.

    October 18, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    And to all the FOX trolls, lamenting the amount of money used in implementing Obamacare(s), one estimate is 300 MILLION to date.

    So, when ACA uses another 23.7 BILLION with a b, not an M, and it equals the loss the TP terrorists, just cost the U.S. taxpayer and U.S. economy, trying to defund Obamacare(s), then, you trolls get to complain.

    Until then, keep your piehole/fingers filled, either with pie or your foot!

    October 18, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The HHS liars are out in force.

    October 18, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, the horror of it all. Kathleen Sebelius can't testify on Thursday.
    Where are my pearls?

    October 18, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    This is not unusual when you subpoena someone or whatever. It shouldn't be blow out of proportion. She'll testify...and the GOP/Teatrolls will talk over and interrupt the parts of her testimony they don't want to hear, are inconvenient and would spoil their attempt to generate a one-sided congressional record.

    October 18, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Rick McDaniel
    The HHS liars are out in force.

    Hey Rick. I hear that "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" is on HBO this week. Enjoy!

    October 18, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |

    ACA is the Law Of The Land. It is here to stay get used to it and stay out of the way Repubs. Republicans will never repeal The ACA because they will never control the legislature and Executive branch. We sent repubs a message in 2012 when we elected President Obama for a second term. Repubs lost Congress seats in 2012 and will lose more in 2014.

    October 18, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Oh, the horror of it all. Kathleen Sebelius can't testify on Thursday.
    Where are my pearls?
    Have a great weekend my friend!
    Indeed a safe weekend to everyone...you too tom l and smith!

    October 18, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Data Driven

    Subpoenaed? FOR WHAT? Being a lousy spin doctor?

    Can we subpoena Sessions and Boehner for sedition?

    October 18, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Sebelius not available to testify Thursday

    Of course NOT

    Have the MOST TRANSPARENT administration in american history !!!

    At this point what difference doe's it make ???
    americans are still dead and the cover up continues

    October 18, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "joining him (Issa) was Lamar Alexander....."
    The same Lamar that put the pork in the "shut down" deal for McConnell? That Lamar? Keep wasting money that you
    pretent to hate spending. "Oversight committes" riiiiiiiight... more like very expensive witch hunts brought to you by
    very wealthy losers. How do they look at themselves in the mirror and what keeps those mirrors from

    October 18, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. Wrong

    Malory Archer

    Twenty four BILLION (WITH A "B") in 16 days, and now this manufactured "scandal". Yeah, the reichwing is REALLY fiscally conservative.
    Sorry that was all on Obama and the Senate, the GOP tried to compromise was the president or senate willing to work with them at all, NO!!! ENTIRELY OBAMA AND THE SENATES FAULT!!! And in typical liberal fashion, when asked about what happened, the liberals run just like IRS lady!!!! Sorry sorry group of people!!!

    October 18, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Lisa P.

    Malory Archer

    Twenty four BILLION (WITH A "B") in 16 days, and now this manufactured "scandal". Yeah, the reichwing is REALLY fiscally conservative.
    October 18, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm

    Well that's what Congressional hearings are for, right? To gin up fake scandals in order to distract the public from your party's own colossal failures. It's the Republican theory of government: the only legitimate functions of government are the ones that can be used to help Republicans, not the other way around.

    October 18, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. freedom

    The president really compared the United States healthcare over-hall to an i-phone??? Computer glitches??? Excuse me, but there is SO much more at stake. And he's considered intelligent?

    Speaking of NOT being intelligent – did Robert Redford really say that Obama can't function because he has opposition? He gets a pass because he's inept? Mr. Redford, you are exposing your ignorant bias.

    October 18, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. Evergreen

    26 BILLION dollars flushed down the toilet but no investigation as to why Cruz and company felt it necessary to shutdown the government when they knew it would not repeal the nation's healthcare law.

    October 18, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. firebird

    It seems that the web site should work right by now. Didn't it cost a fortune?

    October 18, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Bettina

    This Presidency and White House administration lacks credibility , accountability and transparancy .
    Obama is a hoax , just like Eastwood said.
    Time to clear house and send some smart people to Washington , new minds who will restore decorum , order and civility.

    October 18, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. Winning

    As much as I think the actual summons is complete BS, so is the excuse. I am a federal worker. The secretaries and directors were all "excepted employees," meaning they were working during the shutdown. She knew about it, and the excuse is nonsense.

    October 18, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. wmontanye

    They just don't give up.. He is in office until the next election DEAL WITH IT. Do your job,that does not include harassing people.....

    October 18, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  24. Michael Benjamin

    and the witch hunt begins...

    October 18, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  25. Jerry

    Not surprised. I can't really blame her. I feel another GOP witch hunt brewing!

    October 19, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
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