Issa accuses Sebelius of ducking meeting

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is accusing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of reneging on a meeting to discuss the security of HealthCare.gov.

Issa's accusation is the latest shot in an ongoing feud between the chairman and HHS over a number of contractor reports that detail security vulnerabilities within the health insurance reform website. 

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“It’s difficult to have a serious dialogue when the other party walks back an offer after we’ve said yes,” an official for the committee said in a statement. 

Issa announced on Tuesday he was willing to meet with Sebelius on Wednesday to discuss concerns about documents he obtained through a subpoena. 

The administration has expressed concern that if the documents were leaked they could provide hackers with information that could compromise the site. 

Jim Esquea, an assistant secretary at HHS, told Issa in a letter Wednesday the department is trying to work out a meeting between Republicans and Democrats after other members — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — also requested a briefing. 

“In light of these requests and the seriousness of our concerns, we would like to work with majority and minority staff for the Committee to schedule such a meeting with you” and other leaders, Esquea said in the letter. 

Earlier this week, the administration accused Issa of refusing a number of invitations to discuss the details of the reports and expressed concern that the chairman would leak the sensitive documents to the press. 

Issa has disputed the assertion and has said he welcomes a meeting. He withheld the technical details of the documents Tuesday but said some findings indicate that the healthcare website is vulnerable to attacks that could compromise personal information of enrollees. 

Esquea reiterated there had been no serious attacks on the website and said the department could have cybersecurity experts brief the committee on the reports.