Darrell Issa subpoenas W.H. tech official for Obamacare hearing
By JENNIFER HABERKORN | 11/8/13 6:26 PM EST
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a subpoena to top Obama administration technology official Todd Park late Friday requiring him to testify at a hearing on the bumpy Obamacare rollout on Wednesday.
“Millions of Americans have lost their health insurance and are rapidly approaching a point where they must prepare for the possibility of having no health insurance on Jan.1, 2014,” Issa wrote in a letter to Park. “They deserve your sworn testimony before their elected representatives about what went wrong — not simply the media outlets that White House officials have deemed an appropriate use of your time away from working on the website project.”
“Given your [continued] unwillingness to appear voluntarily next week, I am left with no choice but to compel your appearance,” Issa wrote.
The hearing is expected to focus on the technological problems that have snarled the federal Obamacare enrollment website ever since it launched in October.
An Obama administration spokesman blasted the move.
“This is an unfortunate and unnecessary step since we made clear several times that Todd Park is willing to testify,” said Rick Weiss, a spokesman for the Office of Science and Technology Policy. “We had hoped the Committee would work with us to find an alternative date to give Todd time to focus on the immediate task at hand: getting the website fixed.”
“We are reviewing the subpoena and will respond as appropriate.”
The subpoena came just hours after the Obama administration challenged Issa to explain why Park needs to testify next week about HealthCare.gov instead of next month, demanding that Issa choose “cooperation over confrontation.”
The administration had insisted he couldn’t testify until early December because of his role in repairing the website.
“These efforts to accommodate your interest in hearing from Mr. Park were rebuffed and met instead with a subpoena threat in your letter yesterday,” Donna M. Pignatelli, assistant director for legislative affairs wrote in a letter to Issa. “You explained that the Committee feels it has a duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, but conspicuously absent from your letter was any statement or justification that would explain the legislative need to compel Mr. Park to appear next week as opposed to a few weeks from now.
” [The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy] is left to wonder why you would demand Mr. Park appear on November 13, knowing that doing so is more likely to hurt rather than help the goal of fixing the website as soon as possible,” the letter stated.
CREDIT TO: Jennifer Haberkorn / Politico
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