Darrell Issa Slams White House on Health Care Site’s Traffic

“You gave a number. That number was erroneous,” Issa said.

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa, R-CA, speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Benghazi attacks in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 19, 2013. 
National Journal
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Dustin Volz
Nov. 13, 2013, 6:03 a.m.

The an­ti­cip­a­tion sur­round­ing the testi­mony of White House Chief Tech­no­logy Of­ficer Todd Park’s testi­mony on the IT short­com­ings of Health­Care.gov be­fore the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee boiled over quickly Wed­nes­day, as Chair­man Dar­rell Issa ag­gress­ively de­man­ded to know the site’s volume cap­ab­il­it­ies.

Issa began his line of ques­tion­ing by vig­or­ously ask­ing Park what the web­site’s traffic cap­ab­il­it­ies were today and “on day one.” Park said that the web­site can cur­rently handle about 20,000 to 25,000 users be­fore con­ced­ing, “Clearly, on day one, the sys­tem was over­whelmed by volume.” 

Issa said the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices had de­signed the site to be able to handle 50,000 to 60,000 sim­ul­tan­eous cus­tom­ers at launch.

“You gave a num­ber, that num­ber was er­ro­neous,” Issa said. “The Amer­ic­an people can un­der­stand that you’re only as strong as your weak­est link.”

Cum­mings re­buked Issa for his harsh lan­guage and tone and at­temp­ted to de­fend Park’s pro­fes­sion­al repu­ta­tion.

“It was the case that volume was a key is­sue,” Park con­tin­ued. “It is still an is­sue, al­though we are rap­idly ex­pand­ing the cap­ab­il­ity of the site.”

The White House had pre­vi­ously in­dic­ated that Park might be un­able to testi­fy at today’s hear­ing be­cause he was busy work­ing on re­pair­ing the site’s func­tion­al­ity. Issa is­sued a sub­poena to Park on Fri­day, which promp­ted the cre­ation of web­site, LetToddWork.org, re­quest­ing that ark be al­lowed to con­tin­ue his day job.

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