GOP rep introduces a bill to reverse Capitol Hill’s self-dealing ObamaCare exemption

posted at 4:41 pm on September 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Earlier this year, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were apparently visited by the creeping realization that they, too, would be subjected to the incoming ‘benefits’ of ObamaCare, just like the common people they supposedly serve. Detecting a pending and rather inconvenient incentive for lower-level staffers to seek other jobs and for older staffers to retire when their insurance would suddenly lose its traditional heavy subsidization by the federal government and they were hit with perhaps thousands of dollars in new costs, lawmakers began to work ever so quietly with the White House on a niche fix for their pesky problem. The Obama administration very obligingly found a way to implement one unilaterally, and did so during the height of summertime political insouciance by having the Office of Personnel Management rule that the government can indeed continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of lawmakers and their aides.

Kimberley Strassel at the WSJ recently argued that the GOP should come out swinging against this showcase example of specially interested political elitism, and very publicly force Democrats to either live completely with the law they claim to adore so much or else offer similar relief to all Americans:

This deal ought to have led to a wild GOP protest, both on philosophical and legal grounds. Instead, there has been nary a peep of complaint. …

Few things infuriate Americans more than special privileges for Washington. The public could not care less that insurance hikes might lead to a Washington “brain drain.” (Most would view that as progress.) Americans scrabbling for work, struggling to pay bills and facing soaring insurance premiums are not sympathetic to congressional complaints that the loss of their subsidies is unfair. As word has spread about the White House fix, a bipartisan fury has started to build at town-hall meetings, at rallies, and in letters and phone calls to Congress.

With a little fortitude, the GOP still has the opportunity to be on the right side of public opinion. The White House’s unilateral bailout is a tailor-made opportunity for the GOP to highlight, yet again, the administration’s unequal application of its flawed health law: waivers for Democratic union buddies, exemptions for big business, and now a special handout to Mr. Obama’s political class.

Fortunately, there has in fact been a peep about the situation — and it certainly isn’t coming from the Democrats. Various Republicans in both the House and Senate have been working to make a bigger issue out of Congress’s outrageously hypocritical ObamaCare exemption, and now that Congress is back, there’s some legislation in order. Via the Washington Times:

Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, introduced a bill Tuesday that would reverse the Obama administration’s decision to let members of Congress and their staffs retain an employer subsidy that will pay for the lion’s share of their health premiums even as they enter new health exchanges tied to Obamacare.

Mr. Gingrey is part of a large chorus of Republican critics who say the Office of Personnel Management decided to “exempt” Congress from the brunt of the Affordable Care Act, since everyday Americans on the exchanges can only get less generous subsidies and no employer-based help.

“This is yet another example of the Obama administration changing the law for political gain,” Mr. Gingrey said. “This carve-out is unfair to the American people and must be reversed.”

Whether or not enough Republicans will be willing to sign on to really get this thing rolling is still an open question, but I agree with Kimberley Strassel that, handled correctly, this could turn into a powerful political weapon. Forcing Democrats to daily and publicly justify why they shouldn’t have to live with the full consequences of ObamaCare, but their constituents should? Brilliant.


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Boehner will quickly squash this.

HumpBot Salvation on September 10, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I’ve read that Cantor wants to tie an increase in the debt limit to a one year delay in Obamacare.

Why delay Obamacare until after the 2014 election? Wouldn’t it be better for the voters to see what a mess it is and vote out those responsible? It seems to me, once again, the GOP leadership is clueless.

GCM on September 10, 2013 at 4:49 PM

The GOP doesn’t want it gone. They just think they can manage it better.

May their mistresses give them the clap.

CurtZHP on September 10, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Forcing Democrats to daily and publicly justify why they shouldn’t have to live with the full consequences of ObamaCare, but their constituents should? Brilliant.

We’re talking about the Stupid Party here… they’ll find some way to bungle it.

Ukiah on September 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

While they are at it, they should make 0bama and his family have to live under it too.

Of course I ain’t holding my breath that anything will be done.
It is all ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

LegendHasIt on September 10, 2013 at 4:54 PM

GOP rep introduces a bill to reverse Capitol Hill’s self-dealing ObamaCare exemption

I’m not interested in these stories until they read-

Congress not exempt from Obamacare. Until then, drive on.

Happy Nomad on September 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Maybe we can enlist Vladimir Putin to extract an end to ObamaCare in return for whatever. Hire him as a consultant. Seriously GOP, go call him.

MTF on September 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Let’s step back…this whole thing was ruled constitutional because it was a “tax” (an absurd ruling IMHO). Given that, Obama/Pelosi/Reid have to administer it like any other tax. Specific breaks have to come from Congress (fatal with an election coming up) and would certainly come within the definition of “loopholes” that the left keeps complaining about. So write your representatives and have them get behind this (might be a waste of time but certainly a “feet to fire” moment).

teejk on September 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Cantor is a swine.

Schadenfreude on September 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

This will interesting. Like Obama and Syria, the GOP members have delayed the strategy they should have taken when this occurred. Any member that doesn’t support this needs to be removed by his constituents quickly.

Hey congress! we’re getting fed up with you. Republicans, please get rid of John Boehner, he is tired and is not performing. Skip Cantor. Get an energetic conservative with his ear to the ground. Justin Amish comes to mind.

DanMan on September 10, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Rep. Phil Gingrey, Georgia Republican, introduced a bill Tuesday that would reverse the Obama administration’s decision to let members of Congress and their staffs retain an employer subsidy that will pay for the lion’s share of their health premiums even as they enter new health exchanges tied to Obamacare.

Tom Howell Jr., washingtontimes.com, Tues, Sept 10, 2013

.
RAM IT DOWN BOEHNER’S THROAT !

God bless you Congressman Gingrey.

listens2glenn on September 10, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Whether or not enough Republicans will be willing to sign on to really get this thing rolling is still an open question, but I agree with Kimberley Strassel that, handled correctly, this could turn into a powerful political weapon. Forcing Democrats to daily and publicly justify why they shouldn’t have to live with the full consequences of ObamaCare, but their constituents should? Brilliant.

Indeed. But it’s also a direct reflection of how distorted our political system has become. The welfare of citizens, those whom the members of congress have been elected to literally stand as proxy for in legislative matters, is the last thing on the agenda. The battle between the two major political parties takes precedent.

This bill should get the votes of every member of congress. Of course they should be subject to the same laws they make for the rest of us. There is every possibility that this bill will not even get the votes of the majority of the GOP in congress. The political class will find it very difficult to vote to take away a benefit that will assure them that they and their families will not feel the very real pain and suffering, economic and physical, that Obamacare means to inflict on the citizenry.

However, as Erika Johnson so astutely notes, this bill will make a great cudgel to publicly pummel the Democrats, and that will appeal to the GOP very much, indeed. After all, winning elections is how the political class keeps their membership in the political class, and thereby maintains access to all those lovely perquisites, waivers, and exceptions to the laws they write, as well as their beltway social life, the private schools to which they send their children, and their political connections.

thatsafactjack on September 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

What are the odds that “The Weeper” (aka self-serving establishment clown boehner) will attach this to MUST PASS legislation, instead of have just another meaningless, go-nowhere vote on it?

TeaPartyNation on September 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM

“The political class will find it very difficult to vote to take away a benefit that will assure them that they and their families will not feel the very real pain and suffering, economic and physical, that Obamacare means to inflict on the citizenry.”

ding,ding,ding,ding

bazil9 on September 10, 2013 at 5:14 PM

I would go farther and force all Federal Employees, both working and retired, into the system. I says this as a retired Fed.

Heah Beck fan You are moron. I suspect Boehner will support this. This is how you kill Obamacare not with kamikaze tactics that will give Obama a win.

jerryofva on September 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

bazil9 on September 10, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Good afternoon, B9.:)

At last count, the Obamacare bill is up to over 10,500 pages long. They just keep adding to it. More regulation, more red tape. It’s not over 8 times longer than the Bible.

I’d like to know exactly how care providers and insurance providers are supposed to decipher this labyrinth of bureaucratic red tape, particularly since the Democrat freely keep adding to it, and still remain within the law as they go about the business of providing for those who need care.

thatsafactjack on September 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Not = NOW…sorry.

Should read:

It’s now over eight times longer than the Bible.

thatsafactjack on September 10, 2013 at 5:20 PM

There is no difference between the Democrats and the Establishment GOP. They don’t give a crap about the country, they only care about getting reelected and continuing to make millions of dollars each year with their salaries, kickbacks and speaking fees. There are only about 3 Senators who are worth a crap and about 100 House members.

flytier on September 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

CurtZHP on September 10, 2013 at 4:52 PM

That was why Mittens was a HUGE turn off for me and many conservatives. Heck, they guy even said he would not do away with it totally, only keep the “good things”…which to me means more or less keeping it.

I am telling you that ANYONE with a back bone comes out and says they repeal and work on a common sense plan to fix the health care ( we all have stated many things that would work while debating this mess ) I can bet they win. They wont of course win the inner cities for that is where the leeches are, but they could carry a majority easy.

Of course as time ticks away the harder it will be to get rid of this.

watertown on September 10, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Repealing Obamacare while impossible under Obama would at least have some legs if only the GOP had an alternative. The GOP establishment knows this which begs the question, why keep promising repeal or defund if they know it can’t be done? Raise money that’s why.

loveofcountry on September 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM

At last count, the Obamacare bill is up to over 10,500 pages long. They just keep adding to it. More regulation, more red tape. It’s not over 8 times longer than the Bible.

I’d like to know exactly how care providers and insurance providers are supposed to decipher this labyrinth of bureaucratic red tape, particularly since the Democrat freely keep adding to it, and still remain within the law as they go about the business of providing for those who need care.

thatsafactjack on September 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM

All this was a ruse towards getting to their goal of single payor (that’s why Congress didn’t bother to read any of what they passed). At some point in time they will all throw up their hands, declare it a disaster and propose the “fix”. This is all part of a plan they had in mind for years…ObamaCare was simply cheap bait.

teejk on September 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

There is no difference between the Democrats and the Establishment GOP. They don’t give a crap about the country, they only care about getting reelected and continuing to make millions of dollars each year with their salaries, kickbacks and speaking fees. There are only about 3 Senators who are worth a crap and about 100 House members.

flytier on September 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

I agree 100% Once the public figures this out we can start doing
something about it.

Amjean on September 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Washington needs more equality. Washington needs to be F a i r e r. Congress clearly needs lots of ‘Brain Drain‘ since they passed this monstrosity of a bill without even reading it…in fact, we’re talking Brain Dead not ‘Brain Drain‘ here!

Karmi on September 10, 2013 at 5:31 PM

thatsafactjack on September 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM

I’d love to add my personal adventures here ..but better that I don’t.
You’re spot on tho with your analysis.
Oh and no..they are not done yet- “modifications as needed” determined by the HHS,DOL,DOT. More a coming!

bazil9 on September 10, 2013 at 5:34 PM

loveofcountry on September 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM

If I’m not mistaken, the Republicans have 8 different plans as an alternative. Look them up.

Barred on September 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Any Republican who doesn’t support the legislation should be driven from office.

GarandFan on September 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Again, any Republican that voted to keep boehner as speaker last year needs to get the boot.

Mr. Arrogant on September 10, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I would go farther and force all Federal Employees, both working and retired, into the system. I says this as a retired Fed.

jerryofva on September 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

.
I’ll second that motion … no disagreement there.
.

Heah Beck fan You are moron. I suspect Boehner will support this.

jerryofva on September 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

.
I don’t believe he’ll support it, but I’ll gladly stand corrected, if he does.
.

This is how you kill Obamacare not with kamikaze tactics that will give Obama a win.

jerryofva on September 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

.
WHAT … “is how you kill Obamacare?”

I’m in agreement with Rep Gingrey. If the only difference between his bill and what you would do, is the inclusion of ALL federal employees, then I’d say that’s not enough difference to be indignant over.

If the difference is something else or something more, then you’re going to have to explain it.

listens2glenn on September 10, 2013 at 5:52 PM

move along…nothing to see here……
.
Sadly, this goes nowhere…. aside fro the lifers in Congress, who may experience some sphincter reflex, the fine men and women legislating for our fair Nation, won’t want to stick their necks out to do what is right.
.
And the progtard media will definitely not allow this to see the light of day either……..
.
Big Government, has been barry, barry good to them.

FlaMurph on September 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

I would rather there be a constitutional amendment that any law Congress exempts itself from in whole or in part is automatically repealed in full.

JSchuler on September 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Forcing Democrats to daily and publicly justify why they shouldn’t have to live with the full consequences of ObamaCare, but their constituents should? Brilliant.

No, it’s not brilliant. It’s obvious.

Vince on September 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Forcing Democrats to daily and publicly justify why they shouldn’t have to live with the full consequences of ObamaCare, but their constituents should? Brilliant.

I don’t know what good it will do, with the complete lack of shame among Dems, but it will be fun to watch, anyway.

iurockhead on September 10, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Tell them what you think!!!!!

Contact your rep:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

CW on September 10, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Heah Beck fan You are moron. —-
jerryofva on September 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Screw you.

CW on September 10, 2013 at 6:27 PM

It’s not brilliant, it’s common sense.

KMC1 on September 10, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Wasn’t there a mention by Obama of “you can get the same health care plan as Congress”?

Paul-Cincy on September 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

The public could not care less that insurance hikes might lead to a Washington “brain drain.”

There’s intelligence in Washington? I don’t believe it.

Now how about getting rid of all their special privileges?

sadatoni on September 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Congress and all Government representatives must abide by all of the laws the lesser animals must abide by.

rgranger on September 10, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I would rather there be a constitutional amendment that any law Congress exempts itself from in whole or in part is automatically repealed in full.

JSchuler on September 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Amen.

And no bill containing such an exemption shall become law.

And include the rest of the government work-force — employed, appointed, or elected — unless such an exemption is granted to all private workers similarly situated.

AesopFan on September 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM

I don’t understand the point of this bill. Isn’t that what the law already says? I mean, the exemption we’re discussing is because Obama waved his magic wand and ignored the law, right?

So, we’re just going to pass a new law for him to ignore again?

I think Congress should stand up to Obama, and remind him that they’re the Legislative branch, but I’m not sure that this does that in any useful way.

Chris of Rights on September 11, 2013 at 9:03 AM