Splendid: Kathleen Sebelius Will Now Testify?

Daniel Doherty
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Posted: Oct 22, 2013 7:00 AM
Splendid: Kathleen Sebelius Will Now Testify?

Yes, she reportedly will. Perhaps even "as early as next week":

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius plans to testify before Congress about the rocky Obamacare rollout as early as next week, her office confirmed Monday.

Sebelius intends to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee whenever they can find a “mutually agreeable date,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said.

She had declined to appear at a hearing scheduled for this Thursday — which Republicans immediately noted.

“To be clear, the House hearing is this week,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. He called the HHS statement “window dressing.”

Buck also quickly tweeted that Sebelius’s plan to testify at a later date is “unacceptable.”

“Let’s be clear, the HHS statement is one announcing Sebelius will NOT testify Thursday in the House. Unacceptable,” he wrote.

Republicans have sharply criticized Sebelius both for the magnitude of the problems with the HealthCare.gov Obamacare website and for her refusal to testify this week. Just minutes before the HHS statement, Boehner took to Twitter to urge her to come to the Hill.

“Secretary Sebelius must change her mind and appear at this week’s hearing in the House,” he tweeted.

So why can’t she testify this week? Oh, right. She has a scheduling “commitment”:

The administration pushed back, noting that Sebelius had “always indicated to the committee that she intended to testify.” She just couldn’t do it this Thursday because of a commitment in Phoenix, HHS said.

Ah, yes. She will be in Phoenix and thus unable to attend. Completely understandable. I mean, it’s not like the last time she was asked to testify she attended a swanky gala the night before instead. Oh, wait. That did happen. So, forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical she can’t clear her schedule, do her job, and answer questions about a failed government website completely gone amok.

In any case, I was wondering how long she’d be able to hold out. Not only have Congressional Republicans demanded she explain herself over the website rollout she once described as "user-friendly," they want her resignation. So I imagine when she finally does sit down on the hot seat, she’ll be grilled mercilessly. Meanwhile, her boss is pretending everything is just peachy despite little evidence to back such breathless claims. Lucky for him, he didn’t have to answer to angry lawmakers. Sebelius won't have that luxury.

Grab some popcorn, my friends. This'll be one hearing you won’t want to miss.