Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar will not testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the family separation policy, The Hill reports.
“Earlier this month, I announced one of the Committee’s first hearings would be to examine the failures of the Trump administration’s inhumane Family Separation Policy that separated more than 2,500 children from their parents or guardians,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., wrote in a statement Tuesday.
“It has been eight months since this cruel policy came to light, and Secretary Azar has yet to appear before Congress at a hearing specifically on this policy,” he continued. “That’s outrageous, and now this troubling report last week from HHS’s Office of Inspector General raises new questions of whether this administration was engaging in such tactics earlier than it reported.”
A spokeswoman for Azar told The Hill the secretary holds a weekly call with legislators, and “is fully committed to providing committees with the best subject matter experts available at the Department to answer any questions about our programs.”
Pallone said in his statement “the stonewalling must end, and Secretary Azar must agree to appear before the Committee to answer questions and take accountability for his agency’s actions. His denial to appear before the Committee in the coming weeks on the Family Separation Policy is unacceptable, and we are going to get him here at some point one way or another.”