Thursday, January 02, 2014

Obama versus the Constitution #4 Privileges for Congress

Congress put itself under the same law causing misery to so many of us. Right? Up to a point.

Exemption of Congress from Obamacare.

A little-known part of Obamacare requires Congressmen and their staff to get insurance through the new healthcare exchanges, rather than a taxpayer-funded program. In the quiet of August, President Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management to interpret the law to maintain the generous congressional benefits.

Senator Vitter introduced a bill to end Congress's exemption. Then senators started shouting. The didn't want to show their faces on a vote to retain their privileges. So Obama told the OPM to reverse its ruling on the clear wording of the law to favor Congress. As John Fund reports at National Review online:

Under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits.

OPM had previously balked at issuing such a ruling. Even without OPM, Congress could have voted to restore the subsidies or ordered a salary raise to compensate for the loss of benefits, but that would have been a messy, public process, which everyone wanted to avoid.

Congress finding a way to exempt itself from laws it passes? In the dark? Who is surprised?

Via Ilya Shapiro at Forbes

No comments: