The 3 Most Notable Moments from Darrell Issa’s Hearing on the Obamacare Website
Nov. 13, 2013 6:49pm Becket Adams
Officials responsible for the mostly inoperable Obamacare website appeared Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to testify on the site’s many failings.
Unsurprisingly, Republican lawmakers used their time to attack Healthcare.gov, while Democrats used their time to praise the health care law.
“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. This was President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. His administration had hundreds of millions of dollars and total control to complete the project,” Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said in a statement prior to the hearing.
“Most Americans tossed off their insurance plans haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience online sticker shock. This hearing will ask top administration technology officials what went wrong, what they’re doing to fix it, and whether recognized IT best practices were really followed,” he said.
But despite Republican lawmakers’ best efforts, it remains unclear whether the website will be up and running by Dec. 1 as promised.
Still, although lawmakers were unable to get a hard date for when the site should be fully operational, there were some interesting moments from the hearing.
Here are the top three most notable moments from Issa’s hearing on healthcare.gov (in no particular order):
3. Don’t Irritate Issa
Rep. Issa became irritated with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) Wednesday after the latter decided to characterize the committee hearing as a “kangaroo court.”
“Have I cut off anyone’s answer here today?” a visibly annoyed Issa asked, cutting off Cooper’s prepared remarks.
“Every witness has been allowed to complete their entire answer,” Issa said. “‘Kangaroo courts’ is quite an accusation, and I hope the gentleman from Tennessee, when he uses the term ‘kangaroo courts,’ in the future, will think better of making an accusation.”
“This is not a partisan hearing. I will not have it accused of being a partisan hearing,” he said, adding “we have a website that the American people have seen doesn’t work.”
“This is a hearing on a broken website by a broken committee,” the Tennessee congressman replied. “And the air is thick with innuendo.”
2. Get Back, Cyber Attack
Roberta Stempfley, acting assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, told the committee that there have been at least 16 cyber attacks on the Obamacare website.
“We are aware of one open source action attempting a denial of service attack that has been unsuccessful,” Stempfley said, making her the first administration official to admit to such attacks.
Her admission will likely add to growing fears that the site, which demands a great deal of sensitive personal information, isn’t ready for “primetime”:
1. Who Is in Charge of This Thing?
Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed during the hearing to persuade any of the witnesses to claim responsibility for the botched website.
But perhaps more significant than the witnesses failing to claim responsibility for the failed site is the fact that none of them appear to know who should be held accountable: