I consider it entirely unacceptable that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not testify before Congress about the problems with the Affordable Care Act rollout. Her pathetic excuse is scheduling conflicts, but there is nothing that should be more important.
I understand most of the Republicans trying to providing “oversight” probably are happy the federal exchange is a disaster and don’t actually want to fix the problems. It is very likely they only want to use the hearing to score political points, but holding oversight hearings is both their right and duty.
Congress has been given this responsibility and Republicans control one branch of Congress. Just because Republicans will probably use this power for politic ends doesn’t justify the Obama administration flaunting our basic constitutional design. It is not for President to dictate how Congress uses its powers.
The simple fact is that the Executive branch messed up in a big and clear way. They messed up so badly they are no longer even trying to deny they messed up.
In such a situation the person in charge should always be required to appear before Congress — and the American people — to answer for what went wrong. This is not about Obamacare, Republicans or Sebelius. This is about principle. If an agency messes up, that agency head should be forced to face oversight from Congress. That is what I expect now and what I expect from every future administration.
I can already picture some future Republican president pointing to Sebelius’ example to justify keeping every member of the cabinet from ever testifying before Congress.
Official White House photo by Pete Souza