An official with the Health and Human Services Department said Friday that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not available to attend a congressional hearing next week on the Obamacare website glitches.
"Given that the government was shut down until today, we were given a very short timeline to respond to this request," the official added.
Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is holding next week's hearing, Thursday blasted the Secretary for "rejecting" the committee's invitation.
"Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress," he said in a statement, referring to her appearance last week on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."
A spokeswoman for HHS said the department is in "close communication" with the House committee about its request for the Secretary to testify Thursday, October 24.
"We are in close communication with the committee and have expressed our desire to be responsive to their request," spokeswoman Joanne Peters said.
In addition to the congressional hearing, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa last week wrote to Sebelius demanding information about the rollout problems. Joining him was Sen. Lamar Alexander, ranking Republican on the Senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions.