Boehner Advocated Privately for Hill Health Subsidies He Claims to Oppose
These are the words of Republican House Speaker John Boehner on Monday.
“Why don’t we make sure that every American is treated just like we are?” Boehner asked, seeking to prohibit members of Congress and Capitol Hill aides from getting thousands of dollars in subsidies for their health insurance as they join Obamacare-mandated insurance exchanges.
Yet, he privately negotiated with Democrat Harry Reid for months to find a way to quietly keep the subsidies in place for Hill staff as Obamacare rolled out.
Yet behind-the-scenes, Boehner and his aides worked for months with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and others, to save these very same, long-standing subsidies, according to documents and e-mails provided to POLITICO. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was also aware of these discussions, the documents show.
Speaker Boehner's current rationalization is that he was advocating for a Democrat solution, not one driven by the House Republicans. That's not likely to play too well to a conservative base that already views Boehner as too compromising and perhaps untrustworthy. GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was reportedly in on the deal, as well.
Boehner aides insist there was never any intention to move legislation through the House to correct the problem. McConnell was also opposed to any legislation approach to the controversy, said spokesman Don Stewart.
Boehner and Reid, however, went so far as to ask to meet with President Barack Obama to lobby him personally for help — using a cover story in order to protect the secrecy of the discussions, according to these documents.