By Elise Viebeck - 10/23/13 01:00 AM EDT
House Republicans demanded a briefing on ObamaCare's rollout after news broke Tuesday that the administration would huddle on healthcare reform with House Democrats.
The scheduled meeting prompted sniping between Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) spokesman Brendan Buck and a Democratic source who said the White House offered ObamaCare-related briefings to the House GOP in late September but never got a response.
"Nothing came to us," Buck wrote in an email Tuesday night. "It's unclear how the White House could have offered to brief Congress on the failure of healthcare.gov at a time when it claimed to believe the site would work just fine."
The Obama administration is attempting to triage its new insurance marketplaces after they launched with massive technical problems on Oct. 1.
Senior White House officials will host health insurance executives Wednesday to discuss efforts to fix the enrollment site.
And on Capitol Hill, House Democrats will meet with Mike Hash, head of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Hash's trip to the Hill will be the administration's first official visit this month on the topic of the healthcare rollout.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Medicare-Medicaid chief Marilyn Tavenner are both slated to testify before House panels next week after days of wrangling with GOP leadership.
Buck had previously called Wednesday's Democrats-only briefing a "snub" to Republicans.
"It’s time for the Obama administration to honor its promises of transparency and face some accountability," he said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
But Democrats argued that the criticism was merely political.
"While we appreciate House Republicans’ newfound interest in the implementation of health reform, it is clear they are not interested in anything other than continuing their desperate drive to sabotage this law, which so far has included shutting down the government," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Sebelius will now appear before the Energy and Commerce panel Oct. 30 after declining an invitation to testify Thursday.
Tavenner will speak Oct. 29 at a hearing of the Ways and Means Committee.
— This story was updated at 9:00 p.m.