**Posted by Phineas
“In hot water”
Mostly because, if the Republicans take the Senate and she keeps giving contempt-laden answers like these, she’s sure to face impeachment:
[Rep. John] Shimkus (R-IL)moved on to try and get Sebelius to acknowledge that items the Obama administration is claiming are free now because of Obamacare are not actually free: “I had my phone on and when my phone rang on left on because I wanted to talk to a Democrat state senator from my state of Illinois, who was on the insurance commission and he said mandated preventive services are laid directly on premium prices. So you cannot say as you have numerous times that these preventative care services our, quote, free of charge, can you?”
Again, Sebelius stuck to the party line: “They are free to the consumer.”
This sparked a response from Shimkus, “There is no free lunch, Madam Secretary! If the premiums increase because of the mandated coverage based upon state senator from the state of Illinois, a Democrat, who is in oversight of the insurance of the state of Illinois and he said when you mandate coverage it is ruled directly on premiums, premiums increase, that is paying, you cannot say these are free of charge!”
“Consumers will not have a co-pay or deductible,” Sebelius fired back, and refused to acknowledge that anyone’s premiums have risen due to Obamacare mandates, despite the widely reported fact that millions of Americans have seen their health insurance premiums and deductibles rise sharply since Obamacare’s implementation.
I’d recommend that Madame Secretary read Bastiat’s “That Which is Seen” essay, as well as anything by Thomas Sowell, for a reminder that nothing comes without cost. But that would assume she’e even interested in learning such things, which she isn’t.
In fact, the former-governor’s answers at this committee hearing were indicative of utter contempt for those charged with spending the public’s money and, by implication with overseeing how that money is spent. She simply would not give Mr. Shimkus a straight answer, until he gave up and said it was like dealing with North Korea.
This isn’t the first time the HHS secretary has given non-answers to legitimate questions posed by a co-equal branch of the government. Indeed, it’s a pattern with this whole administration; one just has to recall any number of Eric Holder’s appearances before House committees, or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s patent lies to Congress. Granted, this happens to one degree or another in all administrations, especially when the opposition is on an obvious fishing expedition, but that isn’t the case, here. Republicans are posing valid questions in pursuit of their constitutional duties of oversight, and members of the administration are duty-bound to answer.
But, more and more, Obama administration officials are doing the equivalent to answering with “lovely weather, isn’t it?” and acting as if they have no responsibilities to the public at all.
There is an answer for this. I refer the reader to Article 1, sections 2 and 3 of the United States Constitution:
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
I would argue that Kathleen Sebelius’s utter disregard for the constitutional proprieties, such as giving a straight answer to a straight question from a member of the legislature, merits impeachment, as much to send a warning to other government officials as to punish her. Now, it would never get through a trial in the Senate as currently constituted. That’s fine; we have more pressing matters to deal with, such as taking control of said Senate in next year’s elections. We must control the tool before we can wield it.
But, after that, some salutary execu… er… impeachments may well be in order; I’ve come to the conclusion we don’t do it often enough. (1)
Which is why I think we’ll see a few key resignations starting in late November, 2014.
Just as I was finishing this post, the following news broke:
In a letter addressed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) accuses the Department of criminally threatening the vendor that developed troubled Healthcare.gov website. Issa chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has been investigating the extremely rocky rollout of Healthcare.gov on October 1.
Issa cites a December 6, 2013 letter that HHS sent to Creative Computing Solutions, Inc. In that latter, “the Department claimed that the company is contractually precluded from producing documents to Congress. The letter further stated that the Department will respond to requests from Congress on the company’s behalf.” Issa’s letter states that other Healthcare.gov vendors received similar letters.
But Issa notes that the actual HHS contract precludes vendors from sharing documents with other companies, not Congress, which is charged by the Constitution with overseeing the actions of the executive branch.
“The Department’s attempt to threaten CCSI for the purpose of deterring the company from providing documents to Congress places the officials responsible for drafting and sending the letter on the wrong side of federal statutes that prohibit obstruction of a congressional investigation,” Issa states in the letter to HHS. He cites Section 1505 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code,…
Be sure to read the rest. Sebelius may be leaving sooner than I thought.
(1) While I agree completely with Andrew McCarthy that President Obama himself merits impeachment and removal from office, I don’t think we’d ever have enough votes in the Senate (2) to convict him. However, “bumping off ” one or two cabinet-level appointees might convince him to spend more time on the golf course and less abusing his power for the time he has left.
(2) Of course, it’s always possible Obama will leave Congress no choice, whether they’re sure of the votes or not.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)