Congress: Grilling the contractors

There’s a congressional hearing with the health law website contractors today in the House.

USA Today previews the hearing leading with a CGI official saying, “High demand for health insurance coupled with confusion between contractors led to many of the problems that have plagued the website meant to allow uninsured Americans to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act, an official with the top contractor will say in prepared testimony to a House panel Thursday.”

Politico: “There’s congressional oversight that answers everyone’s most urgent questions - and then there’s just heckling from the partisan peanut gallery. Over the next few weeks, Republicans are going to have to decide which path they’re going to take as they open hearings into the broken Obamacare website.”

Rooting for failure… House Speaker Boehner “privately hopes Obamacare begins to collapse under its own weight, and the majority of House Republicans organically come toward his view that a second fiscal crisis is fruitless, aides say,” Politico writes. “Despite the seeming space, McConnell and Boehner share the same private outlook: Obamacare is a loser, but so are strategies to defund it with Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House.”

Darrell Issa tells Politico he’s set to release immigration legislation – that does not provide a path to citizenship, but “legal status.” The spin is, he calls it a “middle ground.”

National Journal: “The 29 members of the budget conference committee are formally set to hold their first meeting next Wednesday, with the panel facing a deadline of Dec. 13 for coming up with a report of recommendations for the full House and Senate.”

The Hill: “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Wednesday that House Republicans will not consider a fiscal deal with Democrats that eliminates some of the sequester cuts by raising taxes.”

Paul Ryan told House Republicans in a closed meeting that the sequester is their leverage for entitlement cuts. That is remarkable, considering that many Republicans (including Ryan) voted for the Budget Control Act that contained the sequester cuts (if Congress couldn’t come to a compromise agreement to reduce spending).