Under intense pressure from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intends to testify before a Congressional committee next Wednesday about the problem-plagued health care rollout. The announcement was made in a press release from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where the hearing will be held.
“As the administration continues to withhold important details and enrollment figures, I hope Secretary Sebelius is ready to give answers and finally live up to the president’s celebrated claims of transparency,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the committee Chair, was quoted as saying in the press release.
House Republicans asked Sebelius to testify at a hearing this Thursday before the same committee, but she declined citing “a scheduling conflict.”
Sebelius has come under increasing fire as the Obama administration scrambles to fix the technical problems with the new online insurance marketplace. Several Republican lawmakers have called for her to resign, and there has been a bipartisan yearning for her to testify in front of Congress on HealthCare.gov’s flawed infrastructure.
Over the weekend, Senator Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., predicted on “Fox News Sunday” that “Ultimately, Secretary Sebelius will testify before Congress.”
And on the same program, Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, “I think she’ll have to testify,” adding, “I don’t think she can refuse to answer questions about this.”
Sebelius appeared at a White House event with President Obama today in which the president said there was “no excuse” for the glitches with the system, which he said his team was working hard to fix.
“We’ve got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address the problems,” Obama said in the Rose Garden as Sebelius looked on from the front row. “We’ve had some of the best IT talent in the entire country join the team. And we’re well into a ‘tech surge’ to fix the problem.”