House and Senate Republicans faulted Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today for allowing lobbyists and special interest groups to receive briefings on upcoming Obamacare regulations before briefing Congress.
Five legislators from the House and Senate complained that Sebelius "pursu[ed] a public relations campaign that included selectively scheduled conference calls with lobbyists and special interest groups three hours prior to briefing Congress" about a December 16, 2011, bulletin pertaining to the essential health benefits mandated under Obamacare.
"Congressional aides were turned away," a Republican staffer told The Washington Examiner, from an HHS conference call on the contents of the bulletin. Politico reported that day that HHS held the call at 11 am with "stakeholders" interested in the legislation. A Republican aide said the conference call with congressional staff did not take place until 2:15 pm, after the "stakeholders" received their preview.
The Republican legislators called for Sebelius to make "a commitment that Administration tsaff will in the future brief Congress before briefing lobbyists and special interest groups on important issues relating to the implementation of the health care law." They asked for a response by January 27.
You can read the letter here, signed by: Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.; Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.; Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.; and Rep. John Kline, R-Minn.