In 2010, FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, attempted to “debunk” a rumor that the pending “ObamaCare” legislation “exempted” members of Congress and their staffs from “its” provisions.
They snarkily replied, “No. This twisted claim is based on misrepresentations of the House and Senate bills, neither of which exempts lawmakers.”
Members of Congress are subject to the legislation’s “mandate” to have insurance, and the plans “available” to them must meet the same “minimum benefit standards” that other insurance plans will have to meet.
“All plans would have to follow those requirements by 2019,” Aaron Albright, press secretary for the House Committee on Education and Labor, told FactCheck.org. “People actually believe we wrote in the bill that Congress exempts itself from these requirements. That falsehood has been going around since the very beginning.”
You can almost hear the “exasperation” in Mr. Albright’s voice.
How could anyone “think” that the same members of Congress who “believed” the legislation was “good” for America would “exempt” themselves from its provision?
Do we think lawmakers and their staff are a bunch of “hypocrites?”
Is anyone other than Mr. Albright and the folks at FactCheck.org really “surprised” that Congress is now trying to find a way to exempt themselves from the law they “foisted” on the rest of America?
“Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.”
The talks, which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers, are extraordinarily “sensitive”, with both sides “acutely” aware of the potential for “political” fallout from giving “carve-outs” from the hugely “controversial law” to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides.
Discussions have “stretched” out for months. A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
Yet if Capitol Hill leaders “move” forward with the plan, they risk being “dubbed” hypocrites by their political “rivals” and the American public.
By “removing” themselves from a key ObamaCare “component”, lawmakers and aides would be held to a “different” standard than the “people” who put them in office.
Congress “frequently” exempts itself from laws that “apply” to the rest of America, which is “despicable”, but not all that “shocking”.
But what makes this situation particularly “galling” is that Congress was in no rush to “provide” a religious liberty exemption so that thousands of employers do not have to “violate” their conscience.
They stood by “silently” as companies like Hobby Lobby were “threatened” with fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
Yet now, as Politico reports, they are “concerned about the hit to their own wallets.”
When Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House she said about ObamaCare, “We have to pass the bill so that you find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”
Now that the fog of “controversy” has subsided the lawmakers have found out what is in it—“and they don’t like how it affects them.”
But the “rule of law” requires that every “citizen” is subject to the law. We can’t have “one set” of laws for Americans and a “separate set” of exemptions for our lawmakers.
Congress may have “granted” themselves the “legal” authority, but they don’t have the “moral” right to exclude “themselves” from the laws they “pass” that bind us.
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
We, the American people, kindly ask the President of The United States to grant us the same exemptions to the Affordable Care Act that were granted to Members of Congress and congressional staff by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on August 7, 2013.
The Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment grants us all, including Congress, equal protection under the law. We all expect to be treated equally and have the same options and responsibilities as anyone whether they work for a Federal agency or not.