Issa to Grill More Officials at Obamacare Hearing

Democrats charge Issa with political maneuvering on oversight committee.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will have another chance to grill officials as his oversight committee hears more testimony on the administration's health care rollout.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will have another chance to grill officials as his oversight committee hears more testimony on the administration's health care rollout.

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Republicans have held countless votes in the House to repeal Obamacare to no avail. Now they have turned their focus to questioning Obama administration officials on why the latest implementation of the president's signature legislative accomplishment has been such a disaster.

On Wednesday Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will have another chance to grill officials as his oversight committee hears more testimony on the administration's messy health care rollout.

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Wednesday's hearing comes after a barrage of partisan bickering regarding whether Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer behind the glitch-prone healthcare.gov website, should have to testify as he is in the midst of repairing the faltering website. Issa, however, has been insistent. When the chairman asked Park to appear before the committee he did so with a subpoena. Typically, a witness is simply invited to testify before a committee. The subpoena is reserved for the most reluctant witnesses.

 

In the GOP oversight committee's crusade to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the technical malfunctions of healthcare.gov, Democrats on the committee have accused Issa and his staff of getting carried away and acting with political motivations.

Up until the last minute, Democrats on the committee fought to stop Issa's subpoena of Park. Monday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the committee, penned a letter to the majority begging them to drop their demands and allow Park to come and testify before the committee in a few weeks, with other administration officials.

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"The evidence before our committee demonstrates that Mr. Park is an honest and exemplary public servant and your unsubstantiated public attacks against his integrity are a deficient basis on which to justify a subpoena against him," Cummings wrote in the letter. "Rather than denigrate Mr. Park's reputation and impede his time sensitive work, we request that the committee accept his reasonable offer to testify before the committee in December."

But Republicans on the committee say they need Park to fill in the gaps left by Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who testified in October. During her appearance, Sebelius took the brunt of the blame telling members to hold her accountable for the debacle.

More questions, however, about when the administration knew the site was not ready for primetime still linger. Issa released evidence Friday that software engineers knew that healthcare.gov could barely handle more than 1,000 customers at a time before the website began experiencing long wait times and technical difficulties.

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"When HealthCare.gov launched on October 1, testing was incomplete, the system had not yet been fully tested for security concerns, and new problems kept appearing," Issa said in a statement about the hearing.

In addition to Park, the committee expects to hear from officials from the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and HHS.

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