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Park Testimony Was Critical to Tamp Down Interbranch Acrimony | Commentary

An episode of the hilarious show “The Office” has a storyline made for the current controversy. Dwight Schrute, one of the office workers, tells his officemate that taking any sort of break is cheating and one must work from 9 to 5. The idea of working every second of the day of course is absurd, and the rest of the episode showed Dwight trying to work while eating and drinking, without a break. Eventually he had to give up and admit he was wrong.

So did the White House, and that was the right decision. Indeed, for the sake of transparency and moving beyond yet another executive-legislative stalemate, taking a few hours to answer questions from the people’s representatives is a good thing for any administration to agree to do.

The Obama administration had three years to fix the website. They failed in that time. Congress had a legitimate interest in asking tough questions about that failure and how the ongoing problems will be fixed. Park’s appearance before Congress didn’t unduly harm his efforts to fix the health care website, but it did tamp down some of the intensifying interbranch conflict.

Mark J. Rozell is acting dean of the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and author of the book “Executive Privilege.” Mitchel A. Sollenberger is associate provost at University of Michigan-Dearborn. They are co-authors of the book, “The President’s Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution.”

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