GOP lawmakers were forced to issue subpoenas Wednesday after continually being stonewalled while attempting to gain critical information for an investigation into the Obama administration’s potentially illegal payments to insurance companies through Obamacare.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan were served the subpoenas sent from House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman [crscore]Kevin Brady[/crscore] and Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman [crscore]Fred Upton[/crscore]. The agencies failed to comply with multiple requests for documents pertaining to Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction program over the course of past year.
The lawmakers first asked for the information at the start of the investigation on the legality of the payments without congressional approval in February 2015. Burwell agreed to a phone call on the matter in January after the chairmen sent her a letter demanding the documents be handed over. According to Upton and Brady, she was unwilling to answer several questions or provide the documents.
The administration has allegedly been funding Obamacare’s Basic Health Plan, a program designed to provide states with alternative health care for low-income residents without the necessary legal appropriation from Congress.
Expenditures for the program total more than $5 billion to date, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, will total around $170 billion over the course of a decade.
“We’ve gone above and beyond to give the administration every opportunity to comply with our repeated requests for details. Now, 15 months after our first request, we still don’t have the most basic information about the $5 billion in unlawful payments to insurance companies,” said Brady and Upton in a joint statement. “Enough is enough. Complying with Congress is not optional, and the American public deserves the courtesy and respect of cooperation. Our pursuit of the facts and the truth continues.”
The congressmen issued subpoenas in January to Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and three Internal Revenue Service employees demanding the requested information be handed over.
Burwell and Donovan have until noon May 18 to provide the requested information.
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