GOP senator: HHS chief's answers on health care lawsuit are 'contemptuous'

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

A Republican senator says statements by the Health and Human Services secretary about the Obama administration's preparations for a legal challenge to President Barack Obama's health care law are "contemptuous" of Congress.

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, GOP senators repeatedly asked Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell about her plans if the Supreme Court rules that federal subsidies for millions of Americans' health insurance are illegal.

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As she has done previously, Burwell did not answer directly. She said she is focused on implementing the law.

Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn said that response was "contemptuous" of Congress' duty to conduct oversight. He said he would talk with colleagues about possible next steps.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon defended Burwell for not answering hypothetical questions.