Kathleen Sebelius Survives Hearing by Apologizing Frequently, Smiling at Grandstanders

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 30 2013 12:52 PM

Kathleen Sebelius Survives Hearing by Apologizing Frequently, Smiling at Grandstanders

186315842
She will survive.

Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

The much-anticipated grilling of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, by the House's Energy and Commerce Committee, happened roughly a week later than Republicans had wanted.* The extra time changed the focus of the hearing, from all about healthcare.gov glitches to a cocktail of glitch queries and "if you like your plan, you can keep it" fact-checking. The secretary thumbed the Cabinet Secretary's Little Book of Apologies: She was "frustrated and disappointed" by implementation issues, she "took responsibility for the debacle," and so on. Republicans completey refrained from calling on her to quit.

But they did try to bring back the "fairness" attack. Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner started a wave of questions to Sebelius about why she didn't have the integrity to get on the exchange herself, if she was so great.*

Advertisement

Missouri Rep. Billy Long, a former auctioneer who's built like a kettlebell, did the same, with less aplomb. "If you can, will you?" he asked. "Yes or no? Yes or no?"

Sebelius, looking bored, explained that she couldn't get on the exchange as she had insurance already (not quite true, she simply couldn't get the subsidies that other enrollees would get) and that D.C. had its own exchange, anyway.

*Correction: Oct. 30, 2013: This post originally misidentified the House Energy and Commerce Committee as the House Energy and Oversight Committee. Additionally, Rep. Cory Gardner's last name was misspelled.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Crime
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?