Plan B: House may vote to end ObamaCare subsidies for members of Congress and staff

posted at 5:21 pm on September 24, 2013 by Allahpundit

David Vitter’s been pushing that idea for weeks, Rand Paul started pushing something similar himself in the past few days, and now, per NRO, Boehner may be inching towards it as a fallback option if/when the House’s ObamaCare defunding bill ends up being squashed by the Senate.

A growing number of congressional Republicans believe GOP leadership in the House and Senate will inevitably embrace a proposal spearheaded by Senator David Vitter to end a special Obamacare subsidy for congressional staffers.

Vitter will try to add it as an amendment to the government-funding bill under consideration in the Senate, and Speaker John Boehner is considering trying to force the issue when the bill comes back to the House…

Under Obamacare, members of Congress and their staffs were required to purchase health insurance in the exchange markets. Last month, after President Obama personally intervened in the matter, the Office of Personnel Management decided the federal government will continue to subsidize staffers’ health insurance at the cost of thousands of dollars per year per employee. “They’re going to be the only people in America who get these subsidies,” DeSantis says.

But the proposal to end the subsidies is highly unpopular on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers and staff have balked at the hit to their incomes Vitter’s proposal would entail.

Read yesterday’s post for the background on this and why it has potential to make Democrats squirm. The difference between Paul’s and Vitter’s proposals, I believe, is that Paul wants to force all federal employees to buy insurance on the exchanges while Vitter wants to focus on ending special insurance subsidies only for top federal officials and their staff — the president, Congress, maybe the Supreme Court. As NRO notes, Democrats would have an easier time voting against Paul’s bill than Vitter’s because they can argue that it’s unfair to disrupt health coverage for rank-and-file blue-collar federal employees over a partisan ObamaCare dispute. It’s harder to make that argument when we’re not talking about the rank and file but rather Congress and its support staff, and it’s really hard to make that argument about special federal subsidies that only our political leaders and their aides get. If ObamaCare’s so wonderful, fine — let the people’s representatives and staff try to manage the cost of it the way average Americans will have to. If they can’t bring themselves to do that, then they’ll have to explain why they think ObamaCare’s so wonderful. There’s no way out. And if, as many on the Hill fear, this leads to a “brain drain” where aides end up quitting because they can’t afford insurance on the exchanges on their salaries without subsidies, even better. That’s as vivid an example as you could want that the law is too burdensome. I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t end up in the GOP’s final list of demands for resolving the CR standoff. The only stumbling block is that … Republicans are worried about the brain drain too, and might block Vitter’s bill for those purely selfish reasons. How the GOP will defend that to its base if that happens, I can’t begin to imagine.

Now, something that’s been bugging me: Whatever happened to the “let it burn” crowd from the “fiscal cliff” deal late last year? Remember them? There was a segment of conservatives online that argued after Obama’s reelection that the only way Americans would see what a grave error they’d made is to let the Democrats pass their agenda in full. You want higher taxes and unsustainable spending? You got it. Enjoy the economic consequences, and remember which party is responsible when the inevitable deterioration begins. Pure, clean, simple, and yes, apocalyptic, but for a reason. Here’s a post by RB at the Right Sphere from last November that explains the strategy elegantly. I remember Ace’s co-blogger DrewM also arguing for it repeatedly. And yet, 10 months later, with ObamaCare already starting to smoke during implementation, the “let it burn” contingent seems to have disappeared. Why? If ever there was a moment to give the public a hard lesson in what liberal utopianism can do, this is it. There are new stories about economic and logistical headaches related to O-Care in the media every day. If you’re confident that this train is headed off the tracks, then shouldn’t let-it-burners want to toss some coal in the engine and hurry it along? If Ted Cruz can’t convince the public to defund, maybe having to live with this giant boondoggle for awhile will, no?


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Too little too late.

bgibbs1000 on September 24, 2013 at 5:24 PM

If you’re confident that this train is headed off the tracks, then shouldn’t let-it-burners want to toss some coal in the engine and hurry it along? If Ted Cruz can’t convince the public to defund, maybe having to live with this giant boondoggle for awhile will, no?

Because failure of “Obamacare” after is implemented has always been the plan. Kill off private insurance and have this muddled mess that is too big to fail…….. Enter single payer healthcare. I don’t understand why the Quislings, Vichy Republicans, and anti-Cruz haters are so damned stupid when it comes to this point. I guess they want the trip to European socialism to be smooth with as little resistance as possible. vidkun Quisling would be proud of the surrender caucus.

Happy Nomad on September 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Do that too

TX-96 on September 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM

The fall back should be delay for one year; force the red-state Dem’s in the Senate to vote on O-care 45 days before an election.

Tater Salad on September 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If it’s a Plan B, the Dems are in, Baby! Plan B for everybody!

ObamaCare victory!

OhEssYouCowboys on September 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM

There won’t be much “brain drain”. Those people are there to suck up to the Senators and Representatives. Political power is a sustaining life force for those people.

Flange on September 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM

YES!! Also, require SCOTUS and all administration employees, as well as all registered lobbyists as a condition of registration. Disallow all waivers.

Stringent enforcement! Make them pay.

MTF on September 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If a brain drain means no more 2000-page bills, I’m for it!

PattyJ on September 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Now, something that’s been bugging me: Whatever happened to the “let it burn” crowd from the “fiscal cliff” deal late last year?

They were busy throwing a tantrum, that is why. None of them has the balls to see it through to the end, but instead rely on messiahs and saviors. Quite ironic since conservatives are to be self-sufficient, no?

eva3071 on September 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

Also, require all federal retirees to sign up for ZeroCare.

MTF on September 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

IF we can’t kill it, I say we ram it down everyone’s throat. Kill all exemptions and make it all happen as soon as possible. If it’s so great, let it be the law.

Watch as Obamacare scorches the Earth, and then salt the earth the tear of democrats who careers go up in smoke when their legislation ends up being their own destruction.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on September 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Keep your surrender papers, I stand with Ted Cruz and Mike Lee!

FloatingRock on September 24, 2013 at 5:35 PM

To be ignored by our dictator-in-chief. Just like anything else that congress will pass. Including defunding of Obamacare. And nobody, particularly John Roberts, will say boo.

besser tot als rot on September 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Obamacare already forces members of Congress and their Staff to be subjects of Obamacare, a new law would be redundant. The problem is that Obama and the rest of the federal government is lawless. Not only are they committing treason by arming Al Qaeda terrorists overseas, they also illegally ignore the law and make up laws extra-judicially, or extra-legislatively, whatever the correct word is.

Passing a new law that they will continue to ignore only adds another layer to their treachery.

FloatingRock on September 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Drew M. at Ace of Spades is a frickin idiot. I don’t even read his posts any more. Definitely the weak link in that chain.

BuzzCrutcher on September 24, 2013 at 5:40 PM

And if, as many on the Hill fear, this leads to a “brain drain” where aides end up quitting because they can’t afford insurance on the exchanges on their salaries without subsidies, even better.

Based on lack of results, Congress could use a little more turnover.

slickwillie2001 on September 24, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Under Obamacare, members of Congress and their staffs were required to purchase health insurance in the exchange markets.

The problem is that this should have been done already. The fact that Repubs are thinking about doing it at this late stage; shows just how dead and ineffective the GOP is.

Ding Dong, the GOP is dead.. It is not nearly dead but really really dead!

melle1228 on September 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Boehner may be inching towards it…

Whatsamatta John? Taking ‘Leading from Behind’ lessons from JugEars?

socalcon on September 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Last month, after President Obama personally intervened in the matter, the Office of Personnel Management decided the federal government will continue to subsidize staffers’ health insurance at the cost of thousands of dollars per year per employee. “They’re going to be the only people in America who get these subsidies,” DeSantis says.

These special subsidies are estimated to be over $11,000 per year per employee. Where did Obama get the legal authority to hand out millions of dollars’ worth of special Obamacare subsidies to congressional staffers? Same place he gets so many of his other ideas: he pulled it out of his azz.

AZCoyote on September 24, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Now, something that’s been bugging me: Whatever happened to the “let it burn” crowd from the “fiscal cliff” deal late last year?

Good point, AP. I have been cheering for Cruz/Lee to be able to stop/slow down this train b/c I have received word that our contributions toward our healthcare are going up next year (not sure how much yet) and we will be given very invasive tests TWICE now in order to even get the 20% discount we used to get automatically if we filled out the proper forms about our current health. So now our costs will go up even if we agree to be probed twice in the upcoming year, but if we don’t, they will REALLY go up.

Short of the long, I was trying to hopefully take the damage down a notch, but until we really allow it all to crash and burn, we’re only slowing the inevitable. I really believe at this point that things will not get better until they REALLY get worse to the point that even the LIVs feel it.

That said, LET IT BURN, Baby!!!

hollygolightly on September 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Also, require all federal retirees to sign up for ZeroCare.

MTF on September 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

This + the Rand Paul plan.

Vitter’s proposal is too watered down and will be reversed as soon as we aren’t looking.

Deafdog on September 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM

That’s a terrible plan B. That’s more like a plan Q or R.

Stoic Patriot on September 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The only compromise I’m interested will be negotiated between Cruz/Lee and Obama across a negotiating table, hopefully broadcast on C-SPAN.

FloatingRock on September 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Drew M. at Ace of Spades is a frickin idiot. I don’t even read his posts any more. Definitely the weak link in that chain.

BuzzCrutcher on September 24, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Funny, I was thinking that about Gabe Malor.

I suspect we’re on opposite sides of the Cruz filibuster.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on September 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

“Brain Drain”? Seriously? Fine, let ‘em go to the K Street jobs they’re holding over everyone’s heads. I’m sure there are millions on unemployment right now that would love their jobs, with or without insurance. Insurance is important, don’t get me wrong, but having a decent job means a helluva a lot more. About time they lived like the rest of us.

waterytart on September 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

If ever there was a moment to give the public a hard lesson in what liberal utopianism can do, this is it.

!!!

MichaelGabriel on September 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

CJ John Roberts should be subject to the same rules as every other American…

d1carter on September 24, 2013 at 5:57 PM

But yes, I definitely agree on one thing…no exemptions from this wonderful legislation, for ANYONE.

hollygolightly on September 24, 2013 at 5:58 PM

If Ted Cruz can’t convince the public to defund, maybe having to live with this giant boondoggle for awhile will, no?

It’s unconstitutional to be treated differently by the same law.

obama has created two groups of people in the US, just like Mugabe has in Zimbabwe.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 5:59 PM

This is historic.

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 5:59 PM

As Ulysses Grant observed: “I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution.”

– ajacksonian

Schadenfreude on September 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Not good enough. It must be every Federal government employee that goes on the exchanges and subsidies would only apply based on income level.

Dusty on September 24, 2013 at 6:08 PM

But then with the next stroke of the pen they will give all these members of Congress and staff a giant pay raise to compensate for any additional costs from ObamaCare…

albill on September 24, 2013 at 6:09 PM

I got an email from Sen Cornyn asking me to help him vote to defund Obamacare.I thought he was going to vote against defunding.
This is the reply I got.

If you can, please chip in $5 to ensure that we have the resources we need to continue our fight against this terrible law!

For Texas,

Senator John Cornyn

docflash on September 24, 2013 at 6:10 PM

All smoke and mirrors, hocus pocus by the Republicans who in the end will just say, “Gosh, we didn’t accomplish anything but we tried, so please don’t vote us out of our offices….”

albill on September 24, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Make the Supremes live under O-care and they’ll find it unconstitutional faster than a Wise Latina can say “My diabetic meds are gonna cost me how much?!”

Rational Thought on September 24, 2013 at 6:14 PM

About time they lived like the rest of us.

waterytart on September 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

They will never live like the rest of us, but this is a good start.
Support a Constitutional Amendment that Congress and the federal workforce cannot be exempted from any law that the public must obey.

AesopFan on September 24, 2013 at 6:17 PM

YOU WORK US you Congressional scum!!

Put your cocktails down and stop smoking the media crackpipe!

THIS is it you republicans!

PappyD61 on September 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Hell get in their faces. The GOP should demand ONLY democrats and their staffers NOT get the subsidies. They worked hard for that law and they should enjoy the fruits of their labor just like the rest of us. They passed the law on their votes and their leader changed it. They own it up down and sideways.

DanMan on September 24, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Support a Constitutional Amendment that Congress and the federal workforce cannot be exempted from any law that the public must obey.

AesopFan on September 24, 2013 at 6:17 PM

That was a Tom Delay amendment to a law back in the Clinton days. One of those 100 things to do in 100 days/Contract with America deals.

DanMan on September 24, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Last month, after President Obama personally intervened in the matter, the Office of Personnel Management decided the federal government will continue to subsidize staffers’ health insurance at the cost of thousands of dollars per year per employee.

IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW.

Not that the law matters with this administration.

GarandFan on September 24, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Look at Drudge: Plan C?

Rational Thought on September 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Look at Drudge: Plan C?

Rational Thought on September 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

…thanks!

KOOLAID2 on September 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM

These ‘public service’ jackwagons should be subject to every bit of the glory that is Obamacare and that includes the Supreme Court, every Congress member, every staff member and even the Prezy himsizzle. I mean it was so wonderful for us peons, right? Of course in reality these elitist thugs will exempt themselves, laws be damned. That goes for both parties. The Republicrats are for the most part going along with this travesty whether they are doing so actively or passively. They just can’t bear to part with their political aristocracy and many no doubt, are compromised one way or another by this administration. I am not buying the “We don’t want to be blamed for a shutdown” meme, either. The Republicrats have willfully walked headlong into booby traps set by the Dems before – like they care about how they are seen all of a sudden now. So shut down the Government, how about we start by shutting down the foreign aid to countries who hate us, the cash giveaways to ‘green’ investments, the welfare dole and all of those Department of Redundancy Departments we have so many of.

ghostwalker1 on September 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Where’s the “let it burn” crowd?

I counted myself among them, but my knee-jerk reaction is to fight and defend my country. Can’t help it.

Although I’ll admit…the longer the SCFOAMF stays in office the more mileage I get from watching people who voted for him suffer and the schadenfreude it entails.

DRayRaven on September 24, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Now, something that’s been bugging me: Whatever happened to the “let it burn” crowd from the “fiscal cliff” deal late last year?

We’re still here. In fact, I’ve posted on several threads that while I support Cruz I don’t believe that defunding will work. I’ve said that Repubs should pass a full budget (not CR) and fund Obamacare, WITH THE PROVISIONS that…

1) All waivers and exemptions are null and void.

2) All dates are reinstated as to the dates explicitly written into the law.

3) Any further changes to the law, whether from Executive Order or administrative fiat, without the involvement of Congress as required by the Constitution, will be considered a HIGH CRIME and will result in immediate impeachment and criminal proceedings against the individual(s) making the change, whether administration managers, department heads or the President himself.

The law is the law, and we are to all be treated equally under the law. Changes, except by Congress, is un-Constitutional and should be treated as a usurpation of power as a HIGH CRIME. Conservatives have the moral high ground but the GOP is gutless to use the advantage.

dominigan on September 24, 2013 at 7:16 PM

House may vote to end ObamaCare subsidies for Congress

Do it. The pitchforks are ready. Do it now.

ALL federal employees submit to Obamacare just as the rest of us, no more, no less.

Oh yes, and don’t overlook USSC Justices, notably Chief Justice John Roberts who corrupted the Constitution to make room for this law, and staff of the USSC.

petefrt on September 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

he “let it burn” contingent seems to have disappeared. Why?

Because the GOP and media do such a great job of obfuscating who’s responsible that they’ll collude to make sure the Paul/Cruz/Libertarian/Tea faction is tried by the press and held responsible for something they had nothing to do with.

budfox on September 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM

If Ted Cruz can’t convince the public to defund, maybe having to live with this giant boondoggle for awhile will, no?

Um, what? If, as the Cruz haters have shreiked repeatedly, defunding won’t happen, then people will be living with it, or are they saying now that defunding could succeed but they’re just not going to let it?

clearbluesky on September 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM

dominigan on September 24, 2013 at 7:16 PM

My feelings exactly!!!!

Barred on September 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Not good enough. It must be every Federal government employee that goes on the exchanges and subsidies would only apply based on income level.

Dusty on September 24, 2013 at 6:08 PM

ALL federal employees submit to Obamacare just as the rest of us, no more, no less.

petefrt on September 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

I respectfully disagree, and see Allahpundit’s counter point on this. Dems, and some republicans, will be looking for ANY way to squirm out of voting to cancel the exemption.

As Allahpundit says, Democrats will cite an unfair burden to the poor, blue collar federal employee, (janitors,landscapers, etc) as an excuse to keep the Obamacare exemption for themselves.

Target the exemption cancellation so it applies solely to the very buffoons in congress who voted for Obamacare, and to the staff members unfortunate enough to work for them, because they no doubt voted for obamacare also. If republicans in congress are collateral damage, that’s just the price of being representatives of the electorate who have to live under Obama’s health care wreckage.

Welcome all of congress, and their staffs, to our world.

Cavalry on September 24, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Use communist tactics. Force everyone to be covered under the law, AS THE LAW WAS DESIGNED, starting now. No exemptions, nothing. Let unions and Congress live under same rules we do, and that includes idiot Roberts (we should all send him a dictionary as well).

Idiots (aka liberals) will be screaming the loudest for the defeat of HusseinCare in about 2-3 months. Maybe even sooner when their doctors refuse to see them.

riddick on September 24, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Your thinking that the Let It Burn crowd has disappeared is the same thought process that had the MSM. the Dems, and the GOP leadership thinking that the Tea Party Movement folks had disappeared.

ss396 on September 25, 2013 at 12:53 AM

If Ted Cruz can’t convince the public to defund, maybe having to live with this giant boondoggle for awhile will, no?

Gee, won’t Boehner’s plan to delay the mandate really be helping Obama then(especially in the big 2014 election)
Naw, that wouldn’t be by design for his friend Boehner and the elites in the GOP to bail him out would it?

Don L on September 25, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Idiots (aka liberals) will be screaming the loudest for the defeat of HusseinCare in about 2-3 months. Maybe even sooner when their doctors refuse to see them.

riddick on September 24, 2013 at 10:43 PM

The problem with that is, once the doctors leave their practices and students refuse to become doctors, (because they finally understand that our government may do them in at any time) we won’t be able to rebuild an acceptable heath care system.

We talk about job seekers dropping out of the system, but we seldom consider that our business people and entrepreneurs have dropped out–many never to return simply because Obama, his left, our elite GOP, and any future political group can never again be trusted to not turn on them in an instant.
This was a goal of the left- destroy our faith in the systems that brought us to America’s pinnacle -now but long gone history.

Don L on September 25, 2013 at 6:36 AM