Health Care

Obama’s Ebola czar declines to testify

The White House’s new Ebola czar will not testify before lawmakers Friday on the U.S. response to the epidemic.

Ron Klain, a Democratic operative, was named as the Obama administration’s point man on Ebola last Friday and will assume the job Wednesday.

{mosads}Two days after that, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on the government’s Ebola response, with Klain among those invited to testify.

The White House declined the invitation on Monday, according to a source close to the back-and-forth.

The source did not provide further detail, while a White House official insisted the administration would be well represented at the hearing of officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Administration is fully participating in the hearing, and will be represented by officials from HHS and DOD,” the official said. “While Mr. Klain, who starts on Wednesday, will not participate, U.S. government officials from the multi-agency response effort can provide information on the Administration’s response.”

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is expected to take a tough posture toward witnesses during the hearing, one of his last at the helm of the panel.

Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration’s response to Ebola and its decision not to impose a flight ban from West Africa.

Though the committee has not released a full witness list, at least one administration official has agreed to attend the hearing.

Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Services, will testify on Friday, Reuters reported.

This story was updated at 3:35 p.m.


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