Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 1, 2015

November 4, 2013

Gay Civil Rights Debate Moves to Still-Recalcitrant House

Monday evening’s preliminary test vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act essentially guarantees that the most consequential civil rights bill of the year will pass the Senate with genuinely bipartisan support, very likely by the end of the week.

And so, even before the crucial 60th public supporter was locked down (from Republican Dean Heller of Nevada), proponents and opponents were decamping to the other side of the Capitol, believing a climactic debate in the House during the coming months may be moving toward inevitability.

Advocates of the bill — which would outlaw workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — are working to create something of a self-fulfilling prophecy: The metaphoric arc of history is bending so quickly toward this measure of justice that, by the time midterm Election Day arrives in one year, Republicans in close races will appear dangerously out of touch unless they have become part of turning ENDA into law.

Critics say they’re confident in their view of a very different political dynamic: Voters will remain much more worried about boosting the economy than about creating more costly, religious-freedom-impinging, and maybe even unnecessary, business regulations for the benefit of narrow and out-of-the-mainstream interests.

The House’s top two leaders have encapsulated those sentiments in recent days.

Speaker John A. Boehner “believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs,” his spokesman Michael Steele said Monday, reiterating the top Republican’s longstanding plans to keep the bill bottled up.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she believed she could pressure the GOP hierarchy into applying a lesson from the expansion of the Violence Against Women Act, which Boehner ushered through the House this winter without a majority of his majority, concluding that doing otherwise would worsen the GOP’s potentially debilitating gender gap.

“We made it too hot to handle in the public. It had to come to the floor,” the California Democrat said of her party’s tactics. “We would hope that once burned, twice learned.”

Women are a majority of the electorate, and Democrats won their 2012 vote by 9 points. The 5 percent who told the exit pollsters they were gay, lesbian or bisexual preferred the Democrats by 54 points. Those are just two of the numbers that have prompted so much strategic soul-searching about softening the party’s image on social issues.

Proponents of ENDA will be concentrating their efforts on rounding up House co-sponsors, hoping momentum from the growing roster of supporters in the Senate (on top of significantly expanded congressional support for gay marriage in the past year) can create an absolute majority of committed “yes” votes in the House.

All but a dozen Democrats have signed on, and perhaps half of the holdouts may yet do so. At least four look destined to vote “no” because they cited the GOP arguments in opposing the somewhat narrower version of ENDA the House passed in 2007. They are John Barrow of Georgia, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia — all looking at tight races in swing districts in 2014 — plus Daniel Lipinski of Illinois.

That breadth of Democratic support would still require advocates to find about two dozen Republican votes, or about 10 percent of members. That’s a tall order in a GOP conference where many more members are more concerned about primary challenges from their right than about winning general elections in the center. And Boehner maintains he won’t call up the bill, even if it secures enough commitments to pass.

That situation is why one of the tactics under increased discussion would be replicating what happened in 2010 with the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” restrictions on gays in the military: Working to attach ENDA to a must-pass bill with considerable Republican support, such as the annual defense authorization measure, and gambling that enough conservatives would rather swallow the gay rights language than imperil the Pentagon budget.

Only five Republicans are co-sponsoring the stand-alone bill so far. And only one of those is in a competitive race where social policy liberalism looks to work to his benefit: Chris Gibson, who’s running for a third term in a Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains district of New York. President Barack Obama carried that district by 6 points. Gibson is running against Democrat Sean Eldridge, who is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and has spent much of his career as an advocate for marriage equality.

The other four GOP backers are centrist Jon Runyan of central New Jersey, libertarian-tinged Richard Hanna of upstate New York and two of the veteran moderates who voted for the narrower bill six years ago: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.

Ten other Republicans remain from that group, including Budget chairman and 2008 vice presidential nominee Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon, House Administration Chairwoman Candice S. Miller of Michigan, incoming Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, and Boehner confidant Pat Tiberi of Ohio.

All of them have signaled opposition to this year’s iteration because it would extend federal job bias protections to transgender people, whom the 2007 bill did not mention in a calculated effort by its sponsors to boost the GOP vote total. While 35 Republicans voted “yes,” only a handful of the 25 Democrats who voted “no” said they did so to protest the bill’s lack of inclusiveness.

Among those Democrats was Maine’s Michael H. Michaud, who revealed he is gay Monday in an op-ed published by two of the state’s biggest newspapers — a response, he said, to the “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” of his opponents in next year’s race for governor.

Dropping the transgender provision now doesn’t look to be on the table, for several reasons: A bill including that clause is going to get decent GOP support in the Senate. Taking the language out won’t unlock a surge of GOP support in the House, because most of those members still view the bill as an affront to family values and free enterprise.

What’s more, the gay rights community now looks united behind a strategy of waiting for the comprehensive victory it is confident will come before too long.

November 1, 2013

Hill Staff Health Care: Will Voters Care About This Sideshow?

For better or worse, but at least with some finality, congressional staffers’ three-year run as pawns in the Obamacare debate is ending.

Now these aides will have to wait a year to learn whether the source of their medical plans matters a whit to the voters.

Given the abysmal approval ratings that members of Congress are confronting, and the welter of public apprehension about the health law that’s making Republicans giddy and Democrats anxious, it’s tough to imagine any close race in 2014 being influenced if the incumbent’s staff is still covered under the federal health system, not one of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.

But since the suggestion of hypocrisy is the mother of so many 30-second attack ads, it’s not unreasonable to imagine some challengers at least trying to make a big deal out of lawmakers who have decided their employees won’t have to enter the new marketplaces into which they have recently steered millions of constituents. Fairly or not, these critics will describe this as fresh evidence of Congress going out of its way to exempt itself from the social experiments it imposes on the rest of the nation. Full story

October 31, 2013

16 Senate Women Say ‘Run, Hillary, Run’ in 2016

With President Barack Obama’s approval ratings near a new low this week, the Democratic water-cooler talk is focusing especially early on hopes for 2016 — with the bulk of today’s attention on news that all 16 of the Senate’s Democratic women have written to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to run.

The unanimity of the group means as many as three potential aspirants for the nomination would defer to the former secretary of State, adding to the sense of inevitability about her candidacy and to the expectation that her bid would essentially clear the Democratic field.

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been widely touted on the left as a worthy liberal alternative to Clinton, and she hasn’t explicitly ruled out such a candidacy. But the freshman senator’s signing of the letter appears to amount to such a demurral. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota have both publicly described themselves as Clinton supporters and have signaled they would shelve their White House aspirations if she ran next time. Their signatures lock those promises in place.

Another newsworthy signature comes from the dean of the female senators, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, because it means she’s not waiting for her state’s governor, Martin O’Malley, to formalize his presidential intentions before declaring her preference for someone else.

The letter was orchestrated by Barbara Boxer of California in early spring, only months after Obama’s second term began and Clinton left her Cabinet seat. It came just as the Ready for Hillary super PAC was being created by aides to her 2008 campaign in an effort to centralize the recruiting efforts. Clinton herself has said she won’t announce her intentions before next year.

The missive was intended to be a private message to the onetime New York senator from her former colleagues, and its text has not been disclosed. Its existence was revealed Monday by one of the signers, Kay Hagan of North Carolina. “All of the Senate Democratic women have written her a letter encouraging her to run,” she told a gathering of donors to EMILY’s List, part of a series of meetings the group is staging across the country to promote interest in a female Democratic candidate.

Two other prominent Democrats committed this week to supporting a Clinton candidacy: Rahm Emanuel, who left a power-player career in the House to become Obama’s first chief of staff and is now mayor of Chicago; and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.

The boomlet of interest in 2016 comes as a series of recent surveys shows Obama’s average job approval rating once again slipping below 44 percent. It’s generally been above that benchmark since the summer, but it’s been dragged down by a welter of problems — spying by the National Security Agency, the balky approach toward Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now the multifaceted troubles for the rollout of his health care law.

October 30, 2013

From Churchill to Mandela: A Torch of Generational Leadership

Pelosi, Boehner, Kerry, Reid, McConnell

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

In a city studded with statues commemorating foreigners who have inspired the United States, no world figure has attained more tribute than Winston Churchill. At least for the time being.

The bust dedicated at the Capitol on Wednesday becomes D.C.’s third prominent visage of Churchill, undeniably one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century and the first of only seven people ever awarded honorary American citizenship.

Engineering that honor has been of intense interest to Speaker John A. Boehner, who is second to none of the myriad members in both parties who claim Churchill as their inspiration for leadership, political acumen and rhetorical skill. It’s a generation’s bow to a quickly fading era.

Full story

October 29, 2013

A Filibuster Holiday? Christmas Comes Early for Obama in the Senate

Seven skirmishes in the Senate confirmation wars are being fought more or less simultaneously this week.

By the time these tussles conclude — after a series of test votes that could stretch into next week — there’s a decent chance President Barack Obama and his Democratic front men will have emerged undefeated, or nearly so.

That would amount to a solid second victory for the president on top of this month’s triumph in the shutdown and default standoff, one he could bask in for a few days because the oppositional Republican House will be silent for the next week, in recess from Wednesday until after Veterans Day.

Advancing so many contested nominees so quickly would also mark an important turning point toward finishing the Senate’s year with a return to functionality — if not quite regular order. At a minimum, it would mean that senatorial nuclear winter won’t be setting in early this year because the Democrats were able to help the president put his stamp on the government without upending decades of precedent in their own workplace.

The first two rounds went to Obama with relative ease on Tuesday.

Full story

Judicial Wars: Senate Readies the Next Main Event

The first battle in the newest round of the judicial wars is intensifying today — and is on course to climax next week, when the Senate will decide whether to fill even one of the three vacancies on what’s considered the second most important federal bench in the nation, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and three fellow Democrats on the panel went before the cameras Tuesday morning to tout the virtues of Patricia Millett, a prominent Washington appeals litigator. She is close, but still shy of securing the 60 votes she’ll need to overcome a filibuster by most Republicans, who assert there is not enough work for the court to justify employing more than the current eight among its 11 authorized judgeships.

It’s also the case that the court is now evenly split between presidential choices from each party, so adding judges nominated by President Barack Obama would likely push the ideological mean to the left.

The cloture vote on Millett will come last in a series of six such roll calls arranged Monday evening by Majority Leader Harry Reid. That gives her allies time to search for the votes they need. After New Jersey’s Cory Booker is sworn in Thursday, Millett looks certain to get support from all 55 senators in the Democratic caucus.

Proponents are hoping to find the rest from Republican women and defense hawks. That’s because Millett would be something of a trailblazer on two fronts: She has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court, more than all but one other women, and she would become by far the most prominent longtime military spouse in the judiciary. Her husband, Robert King, spent 22 years in the Navy before retiring last year — nine years on active duty and 13 as a reservist, with a stint overseas during the Iraq War.

A group of military spouses who are lawyers have been lobbying the Senate on her behalf this week, focusing particular attention on New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte (whose husband was an Air Force pilot for a decade), Mark S. Kirk of Illinois (a Navy reservist) and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina (an Air Force reservist).

Two other GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have often voted to advance nominees they eventually oppose, on the grounds that the filibuster is overused.

A top Senate Democratic aide who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly predicted “a big fight” once the D.C. Circuit nominees hit the floor. But the “word is that we and [the White House] are ready to fight hard.” Reid has said that Democrats are focused on getting at least one more judge confirmed to the court, and has hinted at changes to Senate rules if Republicans stage a filibuster.

President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have signaled that they are concentrating their efforts on getting only one seat on the D.C. Circuit filled this year, and they have concluded Millett holds the best prospects for confirmation.

The president nominated her and two others in June. But Georgetown professor Nina Pillard has run into stiff opposition because of some of her writings about abortion rights. And Robert Wilkins, a federal trial judge in Washington, will not even advance through the Judiciary Committee before Thursday.

October 28, 2013

5 Lessons for D.C. on Sandy’s First Anniversary

On the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the communities along the Jersey Shore and surrounding New York Harbor are living with a profoundly complex mixture of emotions: stubborn triumph at the resilience of their recovery efforts and deep frustration at how much work remains.

The political class in the nation’s capital, meanwhile, has spent the past year confronting an array of political and policy lessons from one the most catastrophic natural disasters in modern American history — and certainly the most politically consequential since Hurricane Katrina.

For the political class, the biggest takeaway from Katrina was how not to behave. One of the iconic photographs of George W. Bush’s presidency is of him peering out the thick windows of Air Force One as it flew high above a submerged New Orleans, two days after that storm made landfall. The image captured the sense that Bush was isolated or indifferent to the magnitude of the problem, leading to the slow and inefficient federal response that ranks as a domestic low point for his administration.

A president who had recently won re-election as a decisive leader, effective manager and still-compassionate conservative was made to look as though all those attributes had disappeared — a collective public assessment from which he never recovered.

But Bush’s shortcomings also provided some remedial instruction to presidential aspirants and congressional candidates of both parties about the need to project both empathy and competence with speed, sincerity and simplicity when national disasters strike. By the time Sandy struck, every politician with anything at stake knew that a top-notch performance was essential. But what of the lessons learned subsequently?

Here are five of the most important to remember at the Capitol: Full story

Three’s a Crowd at These House-Senate Negotiating Tables

Dozens of member of Congress and hundreds of their aides have never come close to experiencing a formal, or even informal, legislative conference committee. Divided government and intense partisanship have made a real rarity out of actual dealmaking between the House and Senate. But this week promises to see three sets of negotiations getting started — on the budget, the farm bill and perhaps the water projects package.

Collections of senators and House members meeting face to face to compromise companion versions of similar bills is supposed to be an essential part of regular order. Instead, it looks to be the several-week exception to the unspoken current rules at the Capitol, which are that one chamber or the other comes up with legislation that the other side sooner or later decides to accept as is.

The most potentially consequential work will be done by the 29 lawmakers tasked with writing a budget blueprint for the rest of the fiscal year. Their first meeting is Wednesday, a photo op and opening-statements session that nonetheless marks the start of the first budget conference in four years.

Both sides are insisting for now that it’s time to tamp down expectations, describing a “grand bargain” as out of reach. They do so even while using back channels to discuss options for a comprehensive package of sequester easing, entitlement curbs and, maybe, some raised revenue through loophole closures.

They are mindful not to repeat the raised public expectations that weighed down the supercommittee, which never came all that close to a deal two years ago because of a standoff over whether taxes should be part of the formula. But they are also heartened that President Barack Obama has signaled he won’t make tax increases a precondition for endorsing some measures that would slow the growth in Medicare or other mandatory programs.

The main target of the talks is a compromise that prevents the second round of deep, across-the-board spending cuts from taking effect in the second half of January. The way to meet somewhere in the middle is relatively obvious: Both sides would embrace a freeze in spending at the current annualized rate of $986 billion, which is $20 billion more than what House Republicans formally favor (it’s the sequester level for next year) but $72 billion less than the official bargaining position of the Senate Democrats.

GOP negotiators will insist that money to offset the additional spending come from restraints on entitlements, such as more Medicare means testing or holding down cost-of-living boosts for Social Security.

Democrats will push initially for some tax hikes but will also claim that some savings should come from trimming the Pentagon’s account for “overseas contingency operations.” That’s Defense Department lingo for the continued costs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

October 27, 2013

Gay Civil Rights Bill, a Test for the GOP, Moves to Hill Forefront

(Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Booker’s entry into the Senate could provide an essential vote to advance the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

The Senate’s partisan balance will move a tick to the left Thursday, when Cory Booker takes his seat as the 55th member of the Democratic caucus. And the New Jersey newcomer looks increasingly likely to make a bit of history befitting his national profile only a few days later, by providing an essential vote to advance the most important civil rights bill of the decade.

Legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is on the cusp of securing a filibuster-crushing supermajority of 60 senators — close enough that proponents are ready to call the question.

Four Republicans have announced their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, along with 51 of the current Democrats. Another sure “yes” vote would come from Booker, who as mayor of Newark presided over the first same-sex marriage legally sanctioned by New Jersey, now the 14th state (plus the District of Columbia) where gay marriage is legal. “It’s about time,” he declared after the vows were exchanged a minute after midnight on Oct. 21.

That puts the vote count at 56. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who has made the bill his top priority before retiring next year, is working with the leadership to arrange debate in early November — and he’s said he wouldn’t ask for floor time until he was confident of victory.

The targets for the final votes are relatively easy to identify. Eleven gay rights, civil rights and labor organizations have formed Americans for Workplace Opportunity, a coalition that’s spending $2.5 million this month to deploy 30 field organizers to stage 150 grass-roots events and lobby uncommitted senators in nine states.

One of the advocacy groups — the American Unity Fund, a creation of big-time Republican donor and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer — has also hired former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota and former Rep. Tom. Reynolds of New York (who ran the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2005 and 2006) to lobby for ENDA.

The Republican targets are Rob Portman in Ohio, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Dean Heller in Nevada, Patrick J. Toomey in Pennsylvania, Dan Coats in Indiana and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who voted in the House to pass a somewhat narrower version of ENDA six years ago. Full story

October 23, 2013

Sebelius’ Tenure as Obamacare Overseer Hangs With Vulnerable Democrats

Will the star witness who isn’t there become the sacrificial secretary?

Thursday’s marquee hearing at an otherwise quiet Capitol takes place at House Energy and Commerce. That’s where Republicans will launch their public investigation into what’s really wrong with and who’s really responsible for the centerpiece of the new health insurance marketplace that’s become such a wobbly mess.

Officials from four of the 55 contractors will testify, but no one from the Obama administration will appear. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided to spend the day out on the hustings, touting the benefits of the health care law across the Southwest. She has agreed to come before the committee next week instead.

It will be little surprise if the corporate executives, taking advantage of her absence as a rebuttal witness, push as much blame as possible for the online morass toward their government customers. What will be more newsworthy is if the wall of Democratic support for Sebelius starts to crumble. Full story

Gabby Giffords Takes Another Uphill Run at Gun Control

Another grass-roots lobbying push for gun control legislation is being staged today by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly. But there is no sign at all that the Arizona Democrat and her former astronaut husband will gain any new support at the Capitol.

The couple are delivering a blunt letter to every member of Congress signed by 100,000 members of American for Responsible Solutions, the advocacy group they started after the Giffords resigned in January 2012, a year after she was severely wounded and six others were shot dead at a constituent meet-and-great in Tucson.

“We have disturbing problems — gun crime, mental illness, and the easy access that dangerous people have to guns. But our public officials seem more interested in political theater and special interest threats than in leadership. Congress, you must lead. Come together, take a sober look at the problem, and pass laws that protect our families and communities.”

They said they were prompted to draft the petition after last month’s Navy Yard shooting, and decided to release the letter after this week’s incident in which a 12-year-old Nevada boy fatally shot his math teacher, a Marine veteran of Afghanistan, and wounded two schoolmates before turning the gun on himself. Full story

October 22, 2013

Bill Young Funeral Arrangements Turn Tributes Into Disputes

Young, right, and then-Rep. David Obey, leaders of the Appropriations Committee, work together in 2001. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Young, right, and then-Rep. David Obey, leaders of the Appropriations Committee, work together in 2001. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maybe it’s tautological, but maybe, too, it’s worth a reminder that the funerals of politicians are inherently political affairs.

Still, it’s something of a gobsmacking surprise how this week’s services for C.W. Bill Young have become so overtly politicized on so many levels.

When the longest-serving congressman in Florida history, and the longest-tenured Republican in Congress, died on Oct. 18 at age 82, succumbing to complications from a chronic back injury just 10 days after announcing his retirement, he was showered with bipartisan tributes to his kindness, collegiality, collaborative skill — and relative humility for someone with such a strong hand in apportioning half a trillion dollars in military spending every year.

His were all the attributes that Republicans and Democrats alike agree are in woefully short supply in the modern Capitol. They are none of the characteristics that might predictably lead to a partisan catfight near his bier, or a wave of tea party annoyance about how generously Congress is paying its respects.

Or even an obsequious full-page tribute in The Washington Post from the nation’s biggest defense contractor. “His leadership as a great defender of our freedom will always inspire us,” Lockheed Martin gushed, leaving unspoken the irrefutable truth that Young never met a fighter jet he didn’t like. Full story

Former House Clerk Chosen to Run NAACP

The next leader of the NAACP will be Lorraine C. Miller, a top Democratic leadership aide for more than a decade who spent four years as the first African-American clerk of the House the last time her party was in the majority.

The nation’s largest and oldest civil rights group announced Monday that Miller will become the interim president and CEO on Nov. 1 and will be in charge while the Baltimore-based organization seeks a permanent  leader. She will be the first woman to hold the top job, succeeding Benjamin Jealous, who announced last month that he would step down at the end of the year, after five years at the helm.

“These are important times, and the important work of the NAACP will go on,” said Miller, who has been a commercial real estate broker since the GOP took control of the House in 2011.

As clerk, she managed most of the daily bureaucratic operations of the House, overseeing nine different offices and about 250 other staffers. (The clerk also presides on the opening day of each Congress until the speaker is elected.)

Miller has been president of the NAACP’s branch in Washington, D.C., and has been on the national board of directors since 2008. Full story

October 21, 2013

He Said, They Said: Scrambling to Frame the Obamacare Web Snafu

Congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama have the same aspiration for this week: Focus the national conversation on implementation of the health care law.

They look to be getting their rare shared wish. With the Senate in recess and the House meeting for just two days, the void created by this fall’s budget ceasefire is packed with arguments about the meaning of the government’s flawed online medical coverage marketplace.

The more persuasive side could gain an important leg up in the 2014 midterm campaign, which has just 54 weeks to go. The same goes for the political party that does the better job framing a clear health care message and then sticking with it consistently. Full story

Obama Concedes Obamacare’s Web Flaws

President Barack Obama is going much farther than he has in the past in conceding the problems with the health care law’s rollout. He’s hoping today’s promised improvements will ease the public apprehension that’s surged to the forefront of Washington’s attention now that the shutdown and default drama has been set aside.

“There’s no sugarcoating it,” Obama said about the new website’s limitations, which he admitted was leaving the impression that the new policies were also subpar. “Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work properly,” he said in the Rose Garden at his first staged event since the scope of the problems became apparent.

The president’s declarations will do nothing to change the perception of all congressional Republicans, who remain unified in describing the law as flawed beyond saving even as they remain deeply split on when to take another shot at repeal.

Many of the Hill’s politically vulnerable Democrats, who have remained largely unified in defending the law and dismissing its website failures as predictable and fixable, are now inclined to be even more critical than the president.

“What has happened is unacceptable in terms of the glitches,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “They were overwhelmed to begin with. There is much that needs to be done to correct the situation.”

One other important signal of Democratic restiveness came as Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., declared on Fox News that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would ultimately have to testify about the Obamacare computer problems. She and other administration officials have so far declined requests to appear at congressional hearings to discuss the reasons such a crash-prone was opened and how quickly the system will be fixed. That reticence has only fueled GOP fury, with some lawmakers now calling for Sebelius to resign. Full story

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