Only two? This is the biggest activist-government project in decades, and one would think that Democrats would realize that the scope of this failure puts that agenda at severe risk. So far, though, only a couple of freshman Democrats have figured that out, and even they aren’t putting the names on the pink slips:
At least two vulnerable congressional Democrats are calling for President Obama to fire someone over the shaky implementation of his signature healthcare law.
Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that Obama needed to “man up” and hold someone accountable for the rollout.
“I think the president needs to man up, find out who was responsible and fire them,” Nolan told The Associated Press after a briefing with a White House official Wednesday about the law’s implementation. …
Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) similarly said he would “like to see somebody lose their job over” the implementation. Maloney, who previously ran his own software company, said he knows what it takes to meet deadlines.
“The success of this program and the ability of folks to navigate these exchanges is more important than protecting anyone who failed to do their job,” Maloney said, according to a transcript provided by his office.
He continued: “I can assure you that I won’t be sugarcoating it. We need to be very honest with people about the fact that there have been real problems with helping people sign up particularly on the website. And that can’t happen – that just can’t happen. I’m glad the administration has been getting in the game on this a little more recently. I think they were slow off the dime. I’d like to see somebody lose their job over this. I think it’s outrageous.”
Note that neither of them called for Kathleen Sebelius specifically to resign; as I pointed out, they’re not actually asking for any specific resignation at all. They want a head or two to roll in order to protect themselves, as both will be facing very angry constituents in next year’s midterms, and neither will have a President popular in their districts at the top of the ticket to protect them. There are really only two heads to roll in this situation — either HHS Secretary Sebelius, who supposedly never told Barack Obama about the problems before the system collapsed on rollout, or CMS chief administrator Marilyn Tavenner, whose group ran the project for the last 42 months. Why not get more specific?
Meanwhile, Rep. John Fleming has three dozen signatures on a petition for Sebelius to resign over the debacle. He told Megyn Kelly last night that Sebelius is the CEO of this effort, and that the failure puts the responsibility squarely on her shoulders. Kelly responds by playing a montage of President Obama’s keep managerial record of, er, only finding out about problems in his administration by reading the newspapers:
Update: Sebelius has her own track record of managerial incompetence, as Patrick Howley reports for the Daily Caller:
Sebelius oversaw numerous costly and disastrous government website projects during her six-year governorship (2003-2009), including a failed update of the Department of Labor’s program to provide unemployment pay and other services and similar updates pertaining to the Department of Administration and the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) services.
The Department of Labor’s overhaul of its computer programs was a notable boondoggle, according to 14-year former Kansas state senator and former state Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee.
“In the Kansas Senate, I chaired the Commerce committee. We had oversight over the Department of Labor. For years, we watched as the Department of Labor under Sebelius worked on that computer program. After seven years and $50 million, something should work,” Brownlee told TheDC.
“In Kansas if you have a 40 or 50 million dollar project, that’s a lot of money,” Brownlee said, noting that the Labor Department project was funded by federal money while other Sebelius website projects sucked up state taxpayer dollars. “They started and stopped that project with at least 3 different major contractors.” …
“Under Sebelius there were a number of computer projects. At the Department of Administration, there was a SMART system for [tracking] financial data about agencies and a system for HR information. The performance on it was extremely poor. The Department of Revenue re-did their DMV programs. That started under Sebelius,” Brownlee said, adding that Brownback was “saddled with that [DMV] contract” when he took office.
Kansas constituents were left waiting days to obtain DMV services.
“In government, these computer transactions are a black hole for tens of millions of dollars,” Brownlee said. “People worked around it and worked the other way pretty much. I don’t know that [Sebelius] was ever personally held responsible for any of this…when you’re trying to serve your citizens somebody has to be responsible.”