House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has teamed up with Sen. Lamar Alexander to demand that the Obama administration turn over documents related to the deeply troubled HealthCare.gov.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Issa and Alexander warn that if documents related to the health insurance exchange website are not turned over to both chambers by Oct. 28, the House may move to subpoena them.
“If you do not comply with the Committees’ requests by 5:00 pm on October 28, 2013, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process," the letter states.
Issa, a California Republican, is the one with subpoena power. Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, serves as ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel, and subpoena power generally rests with chairmen.
The duo originally requested the documents on Oct. 10, their statement said.
“Your failure to provide Congress information that would shed additional light on these problems is a troubling indication that you are refusing to hold people accountable for this costly and failed enterprise,” Issa and Alexander wrote. “While you have refused to provide information to Congress, you have been a frequent guest on numerous news and television comedy programs subsequent to October 1, 2013. It is unacceptable that you are providing information to numerous other outlets, but not to Congress.”
They continued, “During the months prior to October 1, 2013, the Administration and many HHS officials assured the American people that the health insurance exchanges would be ready to successfully launch on October 1, 2013. It is clear that you and other high-ranking HHS officials either provided false testimony to Congress or did not know how badly the development of the HealthCare.gov was proceeding. Either scenario, if accurate, is inexcusable and demands accountability from your department.”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled the contractors responsible for building the malfunctioning website Thursday, and Sebelius is expected to testify before the same panel next week.