HHS: Of course, Secretary Sebelius will testify… you know, sometime; Update: Next week, for sure?

posted at 3:21 pm on October 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Republicans and ObamaCare critics have been excoriating Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her refusal to appear before “scheduling conflict” with this week’s Congressional hearing on the failures glitches of their beloved Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s implementation, especially given that she seems to have all the time in the world to attend a lovely-looking gala the evening before at this especially busy juncture. Her run around Congress was a pointed topic of conversation on Sunday:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested any calls for Sebelius to resign would be premature. “I’m not a big fan of media calls for people to resign, but I think in this case, actions like the one you just outlined will make it harder and harder for her to do her job,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Her refusal to testify and be transparent about it, I think, is undermining her credibility. And there may come a point now, perhaps we’re not there today, where she will have to resign.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said during a later appearance on the show that Sebelius will essentially have no choice but to testify eventually.

“I think the secretary’s view that she doesn’t have to testify, doesn’t have to answer questions, that she’s too busy for that, is unsustainable,” he said. “She won’t be able to sustain it.”

And Speaker Boehner was equally direct in a statement this morning:

The refusal of Secretary Sebelius to appear at this week’s hearing shows that this administration is still not prepared to be straight with the American people. Every day new questions about the president’s health care law arise, but candid explanations are nowhere to be found. This decision continues a troubling pattern of this administration seeking to avoid accountability and stonewall the public. What is more important to Secretary Sebelius than providing answers to the American people? I hope President Obama has a greater appreciation for the role of oversight and orders his Secretary to fully cooperate with all congressional inquiries.

The storm of criticism has evidently prompted Health and Human Services to issue a ‘clarification’ about Sebelius’s intentions for cooperating with Congress in the future. Just because her schedule does not permit her to testify at this particular hearing does not mean that she won’t potentially appear at other [less timely] hearings at some later date — they just need to work on finding “a mutually agreeable date in the near future,” you see.

Aides to Kathleen Sebelius and House Republicans agree that the Health and Human Services secretary should testify before Congress about problems with the health care website.

They just can’t agree on a date.

“We fully intend for the Secretary and other HHS officials to testify before Congress as early as next week, as they have numerous times in the past, but nothing is confirmed at this time,” said Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services.

No doubt she will end up testifying eventually; HHS and the wider Obama administration won’t be able to totally stay the calls for accountability or at least an explanation for long, and Chuck Todd, for one, thinks that Sebelius might have a reason to be nervous. Hmmm:

I think one, if all else fails, they’re going to have to find a fall person, somebody, and say, “You know what? This didn’t work. Fire somebody. Maybe high profile.” Kathleen Sebelius is very nervous about her standing with the president. Who knows what happens? But that would be the ultimate sort of, “If all else fails, bring in somebody to quote unquote, ‘Fix this.’”

Update: Under pressure. Via Energy and Commerce:

In an effort to understand the problems, who is responsible for them, and when or if the administration recognized the challenges that lay ahead, leaders sent letters to the Department of Health and Human Services, CGI, and QSSI. The committee has invited CGI, QSSI, Serco, and Equifax to testify on Thursday. CGI, Serco, and Equifax have confirmed. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is expected to testify before the full committee next Wednesday, October 30, 2013, and answer all of the committee’s questions.


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Told ya, Valerie is pissed….

d1carter on October 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Sebelius can’t testify because she is busy writing new code. It’s part of her job description. Oh, wait …

parke on October 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Subpoena the hag. Quit screwing around, you gutless fools

katy the mean old lady on October 21, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I wonder if she’ll slip and fall, start showing up with inch thick eyeglasses, and when questioned, say, “At this point, what difference does it make!”?

Mimzey on October 21, 2013 at 3:29 PM

I hear that Lois Lerner has been hired as a consultant to help Kathleen Sebelius prepare for her testimony….

“On the advice of counsel, I am invoking my 5th Amendment rights to decline to answer any questions…”

and….

“Because I’m asserting my right not to testify, I know that some people will assume that I’ve done something wrong. I have not. One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals, and that is the protection I’m invoking today.”

Athos on October 21, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Back in the day they’d just line these traitors against the wall and shoot them.

It was a lot cheaper than the usual formalities and the crowds loved it.

patman77 on October 21, 2013 at 3:32 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

Mark1971 on October 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Let’s see…

She’s got to sit on the couch with the ladies at The View tomorrow and the Today Show wants her on Wednesday. Jay Leno won’t take no for an answer for his Thursday night taping and she’s going to have jetlag when she gets back to DC. Next week’s looking kind of full because she has a trade mission to Chile. How’s January 2017 sound?

blammm on October 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” Hillary Clinton

Fleuries on October 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Now that we’ve regressed to a single Party, single Branch government, they can pretty well do as they please . . . and what you think really doesn’t matter.

rplat on October 21, 2013 at 3:34 PM

GOP will grill her, predictable liberal response will be “WAR ON WOMEN!”

Mark1971 on October 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I know I promised to leave my wife for you sweetheart! I just can’t do it right now!

birdwatcher on October 21, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Regardless, they ALL think they are ABOVE the LAW. We the People means absolutely nothing to these miscreants. 2014 with mark the beginning of the return to using REAL pitchforks, tar, and lots of feathers.

HomeoftheBrave on October 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM

especially given that she seems to have all the time in the world to attend a lovely-looking gala the evening before at this especially busy juncture.

her mind is Tiffany twisted….
she got the Mercedes Benz…
she got a lot of pretty pretty boys..
she calls friends..

ted c on October 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Who actually cares anyways?
She will eventually testify and Republicans will act tough for the cameras.
Nothing will actually change.
See Hillary Clinton testifying on Benghazi.
See IRS officials testifying.
See Holder testifying on Fast and Furios.
etc..

weaselyone on October 21, 2013 at 3:40 PM

if you can’t fix the system...roll some heads.

ted c on October 21, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Kabuki theater. None of her arrogant lies will matter and nothing will change. Big deal.

totherightofthem on October 21, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Regardless, they ALL think they are ABOVE the LAW. We the People means absolutely nothing to these miscreants. 2014 with mark the beginning of the return to using REAL pitchforks, tar, and lots of feathers.

HomeoftheBrave on October 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Recent history would say that they ARE above the law.

weaselyone on October 21, 2013 at 3:43 PM

And the only thing she’s going to admit to is that she’s a female, period.

antipc on October 21, 2013 at 3:43 PM

If Sebelius gets the axe after what Holder has pulled, I am throwing the race card.

weaselyone on October 21, 2013 at 3:45 PM

How about some congressional oversight on Fast & Furious and Benghazi? How about hand grenages crossing the border into Mexico? These people should be getting hammered non-stop. The House should be dealing out subpoenas like poker cards.

freedomfirst on October 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM

You get one week or arrest, unless you bring an approved Doctor’s note–then it is two weeks. The doctor will be subpoenaed and your health will be discussed publicly under oath as it is now official government business…..
BTW, Ted Cruz will be doing the interrogation.

Don L on October 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Some info on the scale of Kathleen’s domain. This is what she is in charge of…

The Department of Health and Human Services has a budget in 2013 of $941,000,000,000. If HHS were a country, it would be the 16th richest in the world, between South Korea and Indonesia. If HHS were a state, it would be bigger than any of them except for California, Texas, and New York. HHS is bigger than the economies of Vermont, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Rhode Island, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, Delaware, West Virginia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Mississippi combined. The District of Columbia is about the same size as HHS — and you can’t imagine that’s a coincidence.

And some valid questions that will not get answered about Obamacare…

● Obamacare. We’ll never know how many full-time jobs were lost, how many will never be created, or which small businesses will be induced to stay that way instead of pursuing robust growth. But Obamacare is just getting started, and already it’s turning us into a part-time nation.

Athos on October 21, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Subpoena. When she refused to answer charge her with contempt. When she is caught lying charge her with perjury. Prosecute her vigorously if she doesn’t cooperate and be truthful with congress.

No more kid gloves.

thatsafactjack on October 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

How about some congressional oversight on Fast & Furious and Benghazi? How about hand grenages crossing the border into Mexico? These people should be getting hammered non-stop. The House should be dealing out subpoenas like poker cards.

freedomfirst on October 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM

How about we interrogate, under oath, the phony investigators in the GOP?

Don L on October 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Transparent as a brick wall.

Bitter Clinger on October 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Told ya, Valerie is pissed….

d1carter on October 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM

The whitehouse has been involved with the entire process. If they throw Sebelius under the bus too rudely, she probably has a lot of ammo to point the finger back at Valerie & Co.

Deafdog on October 21, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Rubber-necking this train wreck these past 3 weeks has been more enjoyable than I ever imagined…while the media may have been able to shield O for 5 yrs, they cannot intervene on someone’s effort to sign onto the KevorkianCare website..priceless.

hillsoftx on October 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Applied: 500,000

Bought: 0

At least people bought Ron Popeil’s pocket fisherman.

Nobody wants Obama’s FailCare

faraway on October 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM

When she refused to answer charge her with contempt. When she is caught lying charge her with perjury. Prosecute her vigorously if she doesn’t cooperate and be truthful with congress.

No more kid gloves.

thatsafactjack on October 21, 2013 at 3:49 PM

I agree..but none of that has happened with others. Clapper out and out lied to congress, in front of the cameras and the American people. Nothing happened. No one cared. The same can be said about Benghazi, F&F, NSA, IRS, Green energy scams etc etc. It’s not our job to care. It is the job of our representatives to care, and the legal system to care. Apparently they don’t care about that, nor do they care about what the people think.
It seems that they have successfully established the new norm. They don’t care about the law or the American people. They are not going to do anything about it and they’re sure WE can’t do anything about THAT.
The only laws they seem to care about are the ones they can use against US if we step out of line or complain too loudly.
Huh….isn’t that the way authoritarian regimes establish tyrannies?

Mimzey on October 21, 2013 at 4:25 PM

What’s she so busy doing? Holding meetings, issuing memos, and changing the organization and design, all of which will slow down the process of fixing the Obamacare system?

The most productive thing she can do is leave the developers alone and start answering questions.

Socratease on October 21, 2013 at 4:38 PM

So who will Valarie Jarrett throw under the bus this time?

GarandFan on October 21, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Applied: 500,000

Bought: 0

At least people bought Ron Popeil’s pocket fisherman.

Nobody wants Obama’s FailCare

faraway on October 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM

I betcha more people tried to buy Dan Ackroyd’s Bassomatic

Athos on October 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM

The GOP will maintain decorum…

d1carter on October 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM

This was going to be my favorite post

Subpoena the hag. Quit screwing around, you gutless fools

but then came this

her mind is Tiffany twisted….
she got the Mercedes Benz…
she got a lot of pretty pretty boys..
she calls friends..

sadly the truth is

Who actually cares anyways?
She will eventually testify and Republicans will act tough for the cameras.
Nothing will actually change.
See Hillary Clinton testifying on Benghazi.
See IRS officials testifying.
See Holder testifying on Fast and Furios.
etc..

Can’t we just start the revolution already?

wkh on October 21, 2013 at 5:12 PM

You get one week or arrest, unless you bring an approved Doctor’s note–then it is two weeks. The doctor will be subpoenaed and your health will be discussed publicly under oath as it is now official government business…..
BTW, Ted Cruz will be doing the interrogation.

Don L on October 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

All your information is accessible over the internet, so the NSA already has it, and if the NSA has it, the DNC has it.

slickwillie2001 on October 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM

…waterboard her!

KOOLAID2 on October 21, 2013 at 10:24 PM