Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 8/4/17
Whatever you might have been taught about America’s representative form of government, it would do well to recognize that true, faithful representation of your interests is, at best, no better than a secondary consideration in today’s Congress.
Case in point. When Obamacare was being “debated” (read: rammed through Congress by the Democrats), Republicans did successfully force into the bill a provision that required Congress to live with what it passed.
Such has not always been the case.
Congress is rather famous for exempting itself from what they impose upon the rest of us. To one degree or another, Congress is or has been exempt from laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among others.
But they couldn’t escape Obamacare. Had they tried to weasel out of it in the wording of the law, Republicans might have made enough noise to frighten enough Democrats in Congress to imperil the bill’s passage.
So the Dems did what they had to do and then quickly realized they were in a fix. Under the bill, lawmakers and their staffs were required to get their health coverage from an Obamacare exchange. They would no longer enjoy coverage under the Federal Employee Health Benefit program.
Worse, Congress and their staffs made too much money to qualify for subsidies. They thus realized early on that they would be in exactly the same fix in which millions of Americans would eventually find themselves.
Something had to be done.
To save the bill, President Obama rode to the rescue. He directed the Office of Personnel Management to issue a rule [78 Fed. Reg. 60653-01] to the effect that the 535 individual congressional offices would be considered self-contained “small businesses” of fewer than 50 employees each.
Voilà! Congressmen and their staffs became eligible to buy health insurance from the DC Health Link Small Business Market and, because of their “small business” status, to receive a 72 percent government subsidy. Problem solved.
Just to be clear, the U.S. Congress employs 12,000 people. It is by no stretch a small business. To call it one for selfish political purposes is the very pinnacle of cynicism.
To characterize Congress as a collection of small businesses is analogous to IBM designating each department in each division in each office in each city in which it operates as a “small business.” It’s an obvious sham.
The only reason this assault on our intelligence ever skated by is because it was done as secretly as possible and then ignored by the media.
It’s a classic case of Washington ruling class self-dealing.
If President Trump wants to get Congress off the dime in dealing with Obamacare, he can do it with the stroke of a pen. He should issue an executive order rescinding the OPM rule and make Congress eat its own cooking. Both Republicans and Democrats will love him for it.
Meanwhile, the resulting apoplexy on Capitol Hill will be the entertainment event of the fall.