House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said Jonathan Gruber will probably be served a subpoena and will end up back before the committee because Gruber refused to answer key questions during Tuesday morning’s hearing.
Gruber repeatedly said he would have to check with “counsel” in response to questions about how much taxpayer money he earned and how many people he initially predicted would lose their existing health insurance plans. Gruber also stonewalled on handing over documents related to the actual work that he did in designing Obamacare. at one point saying defiantly, “I have all sorts of documents. I have paper in front of me.”
Gruber made more than 20 statements in the hearing that he was not “political” and could therefore not answer certain questions. Gruber admitted that he rehearsed his answers to prepare for the hearing, saying, “I have practiced, but I disagree that they’re not heartfelt.”
It’s “obvious” that “we’re going to have to serve you a subpoena” Issa said, echoing Rep. Blake Farenthold’s statement that the committee would issue a subpoena if Gruber did not turn over documents within 30 days.
“We’re going to have to do more discovery,” said Issa, who is leaving the chairmanship in January, to be replaced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz. “Likely, you’re going to be back here under the new chairmanship.”
“You haven’t answered one question about grants or contracts,” Issa said. “It’s amazing that you haven’t given us one number. … Every answer is, well, ‘Discuss with my lawyer.’”
Gruber refused to answer Rep. Mark Meadows’ question about how many people would lose insurance under Obamacare, according to Gruber’s own model.
“I can’t recall the exact number,” Gruber said, noting that he could not determine whether or not he could give the committee that information. “I don’t know if I can or not, I’ll take that up with my counsel.”
Issa called Gruber’s stonewalling “disturbing” and cautioned that the goal of the hearing was to get “sworn statements” out of him about the Obamacare writing process.
Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers agreed that Gruber’s testimony did not resolve the issues that he was called to the committee to discuss.