Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov.
Her prepared remarks lay blame on the contractors hired to design and develop the online federal exchange, who pointed the finger last week at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS agency responsible for implementing the exchange.
Blame game aside, there are numerous unanswered questions the secretary could face Wednesday, including when Americans will know how long it will be before they can return to HealthCare.gov for a smooth sign-up.
The secretary had a rough appearance on The Daily Show earlier this month, when Jon Stewart called her out for dodging questions and regurgitating vague talking points. A recent Saturday Night Live sketch prompted Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to call her “the laughingstock of America.”
The Republican Party has called for her resignation, but the White House said she has their “full confidence.” Sebelius has been a contentious character, despite her bipartisan support when she served as governor in the red state of Kansas.
Wednesday’s hearing is expected to answer how big of a role she played in the website launch of the president’s signature legislative achievement. It could give Republicans more ammunition in the fight against her job, or it could look like today’s hearing featuring lawmakers arguing about Obamacare while special guest CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner looked on.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect state where Sebelius had served as governor. She was governor of Kansas.
What We're Following See More »
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."