The White House has rejected a request from the House Energy and Commerce committee for information about “every meeting, briefing or telephone call” the administration had with non-governmental parties in the lead up to, and wake of, passage of the health care law.
In a letter obtained by TPM, White House counsel Bob Bauer directs committee and subcommittee leaders to publicly available information about the White House’s meetings with health care stakeholders. But it looks like they won’t get much more than that without a subpoena.
“To provide all possible information encompassed by your request…would constitute a vast and expensive undertaking,” Bauer writes. “To the extent you are also seeking documents reflecting internal deliberations and communications, it also would implicate longstanding Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”
You can read the entire letter here. Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) launched his investigation in February, dinging Obama for falling short of his campaign pledge to conduct the deliberations publicly. This request might go to far, but there’s likely bipartisan interest in knowing more about those negotiations, which many progressives blame for weakening the law.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.