Skip to comments.Why should Congress get special exemption under Obamacare?
Posted on 09/26/2013 6:22:41 PM PDT by markomalley
"I'm going to get a vote," says Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana. "I can't tell you how, or when, but I'm going to get a vote."
Vitter is determined to force his fellow senators to do something many don't want to do: Vote on whether the law, specifically Obamacare, applies to members of Congress and their staff.
Back in 2009, when Democrats were writing the massive new national health care scheme, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley offered an amendment. Obamacare created exchanges through which millions of Americans would purchase "affordable" health coverage. Grassley's amendment simply required lawmakers, staff, and some in the executive branch to get their insurance through the exchanges, too.
To every Republican's amazement, Democrats accepted the amendment. It's never been fully clear why; the best theory is they intended to take the provision out in conference committee, but couldn't do so because they lost their filibuster-proof 60-vote majority. In any event, Obamacare --- the law of the land, as supporters like to say --- now requires Congress to buy its health care coverage through the exchanges.
That has caused Democratic panic as the formal arrival of Obamacare nears. Right now, all lawmakers and staff are entitled to enjoy generously-subsidized coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. Why give up that subsidy and go on the exchanges like any average American?
But that's the law. It could be amended, but Democrats, who voted unanimously for Obamacare, couldn't very well expect much help from Republicans, who voted unanimously against it. So over the summer Democrats asked President Obama to simply create an Obamacare exception for Capitol Hill.
Not long after --- presto! --- the Office of Personnel Management unveiled a proposed rule to allow members of Congress, their staff, and some executive branch employees to continue receiving their generous federal subsidy even as they purchase coverage on the exchanges. No ordinary American would be allowed such an advantage.
Vitter watched the maneuvering that led to the OPM decision. He began work on what became the Vitter Amendment, which he likes to call "No Washington Exemption from Obamacare," that would reverse the OPM ruling. It specifies that members of Congress, staff, the president, vice president and all the administration's political appointees buy health coverage through Obamacare exchanges. If any of them earn incomes low enough to qualify for regular Obamacare subsidies, they will receive them --- just like any other American. But those with higher incomes will have to pay for their coverage on the exchanges --- just like everybody else.
Vitter hasn't exactly thrilled his colleagues. "There has been a lot of pushback behind the scenes, including from many Republicans," he says. Political types have complained that the requirement will cause "brain drain" on the Hill as staffers escape the burden of paying for their own coverage. "My response is, first of all, it's the law," says Vitter. "Look, this is a disruption. It's exactly what's happening across America, to people who are going to the exchanges against their will. To me, that's the point."
Ron Johnson, the Republican senator from Wisconsin, is one colleague delighted by Vitter's move. The idea of equal Obamacare treatment for Washington is enormously popular around the country, Johnson points out, which means even lawmakers who don't like it will be afraid to oppose it.
"I think most members don't want to vote to reject the OPM ruling," Johnson says. "But I think most members would vote to do that, if they were forced to, because it is so politically unpopular to have special treatment for members of Congress and their staff."
For that reason, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, aided by some Republicans, has done everything he can to make sure there will be no vote. When Vitter tried to attach his amendment to an energy bill, Reid at first resisted and finally pulled the legislation rather than allow a vote. Vitter also tried to add the amendment to the continuing resolution now being considered in the Senate. The response: No way, no how. Democrats have also circulated drafts of legislation to actually punish Vitter for his temerity.
But things may be changing. This week Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out strongly for the amendment, telling radio host Bill Bennett that Congress "should not get any carve-outs from Obamacare." And House Republicans are considering adding the amendment to a possible new continuing resolution.
That may fail, but Vitter is likely to succeed in the long run. If there's anything that drives voters crazy, it is Congress exempting itself from the miseries it imposes on the American public. Someday, as Obamacare becomes a difficult reality in everyday life, Vitter will get his vote.
(Like Mr. (Special) Ed Schultz)
‘No animals sleep in beds .... with sheets.’
‘No animals drink alcohol ... to excess.’
There are always exceptions for the pigs.
That is so wrong.
End the exemption for Congress. Of all the people to exempt from healthcare, you exempt the ones who PASSED IT?
End the exemption. Then while you’re at it, come up with something to replace the entire thing.
Yes, after all, they are the ruling class. They think, what is good for thee, is not good for me.
Because they ALWAYS pass laws for their lessors
(suckers previous called ‘constituents’)
from which THEY, and their lucky families and staff
(and select servants from their brothels),
The French knew how to handle this.
...Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, aided by some Republicans, has done everything he can to make sure there will be no vote....
This makes me so damned mad. The GOP is pathetic.
Because they are just like us when convenient, and a special class of people whenever that is more convenient /sarc
They do such a great job.
Pray America to Wake Up
There is no constitutional authority for any of this. All these side battles are simply distractions. The house can deny funding for obamacare and it’s over. Nothing Reid and Obama can do about it. Same with the debt limit. The house and the house alone can deny funding, deny tax increases and deny borrowing. If they do not pass bills authorizing it, it cannot become law.
Out-freakin-rageous congress would exempt themselves from this law. Total in your face arrogance.
Not Good Enough Congress, why not do something meaningful and require ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS AND ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYEES IN EVERY STATE to enroll in OBAMACARE??
Self-proclaimed Royalty, ya think?
Ted Cruz video:
Congressional staffers are paid well. But they want to be subsidized or they’ll quit. Sure, they will.
Name them. We need to know who the RINO’s are and expose them.
There is a special place in hell way deep in hades pit reserved for Judge Robert.... I bet you that a$$ is exempt as well too!! I despise that SOB!!!
It’s the law, Obama ran on it and the Supreme court upheld it.
Their constituents are getting about fed up with the view from under the short bus.
Some people are more equal than others.
Make sure the Supremes (especially Chief Justice Roberts) have to go on the exchanges along with everyone else. I wonder how Ruth Buzzy will fare under the Sebilius exchange.
"Vitter hasn't exactly thrilled his collegues. There has been a lot of pushback behind the scenes, including from many republicans."
NO EXEMPTIONS FOR ANYONE.
And we want the names of any RINOS trying to get out of Obamacare.(No wonder they won't do anything to try and stop it from being inflicted on the people- it's not like it effects them.)
I am surprised nobody has challenged all these waivers as being unconstitutional under the equal protection clause. It was originally meant for civil rights claims and cases but has since been used for many non-civil rights cases.
MAKE DC LISTEN: TELL YOUR SENATORS TO OPPOSE CLOTURE ON H.J. RES 59
We must oppose cloture on H. J. Res. 59, so that Harry Reid and Senate Democrats cannot sneak in funding for Obamacare. We need you to call your Senators right now: tell them to oppose cloture on H.J. Res 59 and remind them that a vote for cloture IS a for funding Obamacare.
State Senator Party Phone
AK Mark Begich D (202) 224-3004
AK Lisa Murkowski R (202) 224-6665
AL Jeff Sessions R (202) 224-4124
AL Richard C. Shelby R (202) 224-5744
AR John Boozman R (202) 224-4843
AR Mark L. Pryor D (202) 224-2353
AZ Jeff Flake R (202) 224-4521
AZ John McCain R (202) 224-2235
CA Barbara Boxer D (202) 224-3553
CA Dianne Feinstein D (202) 224-3841
CO Michael F. Bennet D (202) 224-5852
CO Mark Udall D (202) 224-5941
CT Richard Blumenthal D (202) 224-2823
CT Christopher Murphy D (202) 224-4041
DE Thomas R. Carper D (202) 224-2441
DE Christopher A. Coons D (202) 224-5042
FL Bill Nelson D (202) 224-5274
FL Marco Rubio R (202) 224-3041
GA Saxby Chambliss R (202) 224-3521
GA Johnny Isakson R (202) 224-3643
HI Mazie K. Hirono D (202) 224-6361
HI Brian Schatz D (202) 224-3934
IA Chuck Grassley R (202) 224-3744
IA Tom Harkin D (202) 224-3254
ID Mike Crapo R (202) 224-6142
ID James E. Risch R (202) 224-2752
IL Richard J. Durbin D (202) 224-2152
IL Mark Kirk R (202) 224-2854
IN Daniel Coats R (202) 224-5623
IN Joe Donnelly D (202) 224-4814
KS Jerry Moran R (202) 224-6521
KS Pat Roberts R (202) 224-4774
KY Mitch McConnell R (202) 224-2541
KY Rand Paul R (202) 224-4343
LA Mary L. Landrieu D (202) 224-5824
LA David Vitter R (202) 224-4623
MA Edward Markey D (202) 224-2742
MA Elizabeth Warren D (202) 224-4543
MD Benjamin L. Cardin D (202) 224-4524
MD Barbara A. Mikulski D (202) 224-4654
ME Susan M. Collins R (202) 224-2523
ME Angus S. King I (202) 224-5344
MI Carl Levin D (202) 224-6221
MI Debbie Stabenow D (202) 224-4822
MN Al Franken D (202) 224-5641
MN Amy Klobuchar D (202) 224-3244
MO Roy Blunt R (202) 224-5721
MO Claire McCaskill D (202) 224-6154
MS Thad Cochran R (202) 224-5054
MS Roger F. Wicker R (202) 224-6253
MT Max Baucus D (202) 224-2651
MT Jon Tester D (202) 224-2644
NC Richard Burr R (202) 224-3154
NC Kay R. Hagan D (202) 224-6342
ND Heidi Heitkamp D (202) 224-2043
ND John Hoeven R (202) 224-2551
NE Deb Fischer R (202) 224-6551
NE Mike Johanns R (202) 224-4224
NH Kelly Ayotte R (202) 224-3324
NH Jeanne Shaheen D (202) 224-2841
NJ Jeff Chiesa R (202) 224-3224
NJ Robert Menendez D (202) 224-4744
NM Martin Heinrich D (202) 224-5521
NM Tom Udall D (202) 224-6621
NV Dean Heller R (202) 224-6244
NV Harry Reid D (202) 224-3542
NY Kirsten E. Gillibrand D (202) 224-4451
NY Charles E. Schumer D (202) 224-6542
OH Sherrod Brown D (202) 224-2315
OH Rob Portman R (202) 224-3353
OK Tom Coburn R (202) 224-5754
OK James M. Inhofe R (202) 224-4721
OR Jeff Merkley D (202) 224-3753
OR Ron Wyden D (202) 224-5244
PA Robert P. Casey D (202) 224-6324
PA Patrick J. Toomey R (202) 224-4254
RI Jack Reed D (202) 224-4642
RI Sheldon Whitehouse D (202) 224-2921
SC Lindsey Graham R (202) 224-5972
SC Tim Scott R (202) 224-6121
SD Tim Johnson D (202) 224-5842
SD John Thune R (202) 224-2321
TN Lamar Alexander R (202) 224-4944
TN Bob Corker R (202) 224-3344
TX John Cornyn R (202) 224-2934
UT Orrin G. Hatch R (202) 224-5251
UT Mike Lee R (202) 224-5444
VA Tim Kaine D (202) 224-4024
VA Mark R. Warner D (202) 224-2023
VT Patrick J. Leahy D (202) 224-4242
VT Bernard Sanders I (202) 224-5141
WA Maria Cantwell D (202) 224-3441
WA Patty Murray D (202) 224-2621
WI Tammy Baldwin D (202) 224-5653
WI Ron Johnson R (202) 224-5323
WV Joe Manchin D (202) 224-3954
WV John D. Rockefeller D (202) 224-6472
WY John Barrasso R (202) 224-6441
WY Michael B. Enzi R (202) 224-3424
Now that we have your attention, you sorry US Senators, keep in mind that we will replace you with those who will gladly correct your errors - - - .
So, scrub and clean by 2014 !
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick
- See more at: http://tedcruzforsenate.org/tell-your-senators-to-oppose-cloture-on-h-j-res-59/#sthash.CvqYzXvd.s4d7EOIg.dpuf
Rand Paul had been on this list, but it looks like he has backed off. CALL HIS OFFICE!
The Obama Administration has already handed out 111 Obamacare waivers to U.S. companies. Unfortunately, if youre a small business or dont have connections you cant get a waiver for your company. And there are some select groups who are exempt (Prisoners, illegal aliens, and foreign nationals, Amish, Mennonites, Scientologists and some Muslims). Even members of Congress are exempt from the Health Care Law, the very same law that they, themselves, passed. Waivers and exemptions to certain groups of people negate equal protection under the law. It is for these reasons that this law violates the Constitution and should be overturned.
HR3590 has more than 2000 pages but here is a summary, only 49 pages
In the HR3590 summary, the words Requires the Secretary (of DHS) appear 98 times and Directs the Secretary appears 64 times. Authorizes the Secretary appears 30 times. The law gives a tremendous amount of power to one individual, Kathleen Sebelius, who serves only at the will of the President and was NOT elected by We, the People. It is Congress who makes the laws, NOT Katleen Sebelius and Not Barack Obama.
The Democrat Congress passed Obamacare and gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) free reign to do whatever it damn well pleases. Obamacare is making determinations as to what taxes citizens are required to pay. That too is the Constitutional responsibility given to Congress. Has Congress relinquished its Constitutional responsibility when it passed Obamacare? If so, they better take it back before its too late. This law clearly violates the Constitution separation of powers.
This was the basis for the American Revolution, one group making laws for another and not being subject to the same laws.
“Why should Congress get special exemption under Obamacare?”....
None of those ba$tards in Washington should be given exemption for odumbocare or any other law. They work for US.
That’s a hoot right there
How can obamacare be the “law of the land” if the congress exempts itself? and hosts of other special interest groups?
why can exemptions from the “law” be directed by unilateral fiat from the WH?
the lib answers to these questions should be relentlessly pursued by the GOP in press conferences and talk shows