Every year, Congress finds new ways to tax and regulate you, but the D.C. political elites always go to great lengths to protect themselves from the same laws they pass.
Until 1995, Congress exempted itself from compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the civil rights laws of the 1960s, and minimum wage laws. Congress even exempted itself from requirements to install water sprinklers inside offices, which former House Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX) learned the hard way when his office caught fire in 1988.
To this day, Congress is still exempt from having to post notices of worker rights in offices, does not protect against retaliation for whistleblowers, does not have to keep track of workplace injuries, and they never have to comply with Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests.
As the late Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois opined, “Congress would exempt itself from the laws of gravity if it could.”
When it comes to Obamacare, Congress is again exempting itself from its own laws.
Even though part of Obamacare requires that President Barack Obama’s staff, along with Members of Congress and their staff, receive their federal health insurance benefits through one of the new exchanges beginning next year, Mr. Obama took the extraordinary step of personally being involved in a decision by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to ensure that does not happen.
While Members of Congress and their staff work for the American people, they have become accustomed to extraordinarily generous insurance plans subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Right now, the plan is to allow them to keep those gold plated plans while taxpayers are stuck with approximately 75% of the premiums. The American people get Obamacare, but the people who forced it on you and your family are exempt!
I am not saying government run healthcare is good policy. In fact, three years later after Obamacare became law, the rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. Beyond a dysfunctional website with a seemingly unlimited taxpayer-funded budget, 3.5 million people have already received cancellation letters for healthcare plans they enjoyed, with millions more facing unaffordable increases in premiums in exchange for higher deductibles and less coverage. The pain that Obamacare has already inflicted is becoming overwhelming and getting worse by the day.
But to improve health care policy, those who pass the laws must feel their impact. If staff members do not like it, they should work to repeal Obamacare.
This is why Citizens United has teamed up with Senator David Vitter of Louisiana to tell Congress to “live by your laws!” This week, we went on Sean Hannity’s show to announce this new campaign, which you can watch here.
Senator Vitter’s “Insiders’ Exemption” and “Show Us Your Exemption” bills would require Members of Congress and their staff to join the Obamacare insurance exchanges, just like the law required. Fairness of this kind is essential for our American Republic to remain vibrant. As Senator Vitter said on Hannity, by forcing chefs to eat their own food, the recipes will improve. There is no reason why Congress should not feel the same premium hikes that the rest of the country is facing because of the law.
Recent polling shows overwhelming bipartisan support for forcing Members of Congress and their staff to live under Obamacare. Vulnerable Democrats facing re-election, such as Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, are already scrambling to protect their political hides, as they know the consequences of continuing to protect the political class from the horrible law they inflicted on their constituents.
If you agree that Members of Congress should live by the laws they pass, please sign our petition at LiveByYourLaws.com today. Help Senator Vitter and Citizens United send a message to President Obama that Congress works for us, and they must live by the same laws they pass.