“Seeking basic information about how federal agencies are
spending billions in taxpayer dollars and reshaping our health care
system is hardly a fishing expedition, but if the minority insists on
such metaphors, I will be the first to declare that this committee
intends to cast its net far and wide," Upton said in his reply.
Waxman, who was known as a fierce critic of then-President George W. Bush's administration during his tenure as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, urged Upton "to take a more measured approach in the future."
In his letter, Upton disagreed with Waxman that his requests for all communications between HHS officials regarding certain programs are disruptive and noted Waxman has sent out similar document requests in the past.
"Last year the Democratic majority opted to place HHS in charge of the health care of every single American," Upton said.
"If the HHS bureaucracy can handle monitoring every doctor and patient relationship in the United States, it can handle a simple request for documents from an American public hungering to finally know the details about the Administration’s health care takeover."
Waxman promptly issued a response to Upton's letter on Friday, again arguing that portions of Upton's requests are irrelevant and risk wasting HHS's time and resources.
"The Department faces a tremendous challenge implementing the new law. Congressional oversight can be an important part of this process," Waxman said.
"But our Committee’s requests should be tailored to our legitimate oversight needs. Otherwise we will waste taxpayer resources and interfere with the ability of the Department to carry out the new law."