HHS budget hearing to be held without Sebelius

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Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will hold a hearing next week to discuss the Department of Health and Human Services’s budget that will include heads of various HHS agencies. However, not on the list of attendees is outgoing Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

While reports claim Sebelius turned down an invite from Harkin to attend the hearing, Harkin has since said he made no such offer. The chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and Related Agencies, says he decided not to call on Sebelius since she will not be with the department much longer.

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Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), ranking member on the subcommittee, however has said he would have preferred Sebelius's presence at the HHS budget hearing to justify the department’s $70 billion request.

As chairman of the subcommittee, Harkin has scheduled the hearing for May 7. Coincidentally, he has scheduled a hearing to discuss Sebelius’ replacement, Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the following day.

Sebelius has been targeted by Republicans over the agency's handling of HealthCare.gov's rollout since the site went live last year. The former Democratic Kansas governor publicly announced her resignation after ObamaCare's open enrollment period ended earlier last month.