White House shoots back at Issa's threat to subpoena tech official

The White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) shot back Friday at a request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman for Todd Park to testify next week on the HealthCare.gov issues. 

On Thursday, Chairman Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaWeek ahead: Tech flocks to SXSW festival Tom Steyer announces M effort to bring out young voters in Florida, California Court grapples with warrant powers for emails stored overseas MORE (R-Calif.) threatened to subpoena Park, the Obama administration's chief technology officer, to testify before his committee next Wednesday.

"Your role in the development and rollout of HealthCare.gov … uniquely positions you to provide testimony that will be valuable for both Congress and the public," Issa wrote in a letter to Park on Thursday.

"If you continue to refuse to testify at the committee's Nov. 13, 2013 hearing, the committee will be forced to consider the use of compulsory process to require your attendance." 

An official in the Office of Science and Technology Policy told Issa that Park was too busy repairing HealthCare.gov to appear before December. 

Instead, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is scheduled to testify alongside other IT experts.  

“These efforts to accommodate your interest in hearing from Mr. Park were rebuffed and met instead with a subpoena threat in your letter yesterday. You explained that the Committee feels it has a duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, but conspicuously absent from your letter was any statement or justification that would explain the legislative need to compel Mr. Park to appear next week as opposed to a few weeks from now,” wrote Donna Pignatelli, assistant director for legislative affairs in the letter to Issa Friday.

"OSTP is left to wonder why you would demand Mr. Park appear on November 13, knowing that doing so is more likely to hurt rather than help the goal of fixing the website as soon as possible.” 

On Thursday, Issa claimed in an interview on Fox News that Park engaged in “a pattern of interference and false statements.”

The committee’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings (Md.) requested Friday that Issa apologize to Park and to White House spokesman Jay Carney, whom Issa said, also in the interview, “is paid to say things that just aren’t so." 

Issa has threatened to subpoena Obama administration officials who have knowledge of the marketplace’s unveiling, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.