Top GOP Senate Candidates Lead Fight to Include Congress in Obamacare
Two of the GOP’s leading Senate candidates in 2014 – Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana – are leading the fight in the U.S. House to assure that Washington lawmakers live by the same rules as millions of Americans under Obamacare.
Cotton and Cassidy are two of the Republican Party’s hottest prospects in the effort to win a Senate majority next year. Cotton is set to challenge Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor. Cassidy is up against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.
Both Cotton and Cassidy are backing a House bill (H.R. 3076) that would place members of the House and Senate and their staffs under the same Obamacare rules that apply to every other American.
Under a deal crafted by House and Senate leaders, President Obama granted an Obamacare exemption to Congress. The deal assures that members of the House and Senate and their staffs will continue to receive subsidies to cover increased costs of health insurance.
Cotton pointed out that the Obamacare law included an amendment that requires members of Congress and their staffs to enter into the federal health care exchanges.
“The logic in that amendment was simple: If the law was good enough – actually bad enough, but let’s leave that for now – for the American people, it should be good enough for those who voted for it,” Cotton said.
Cassidy said the law stipulates that no subsidies should be provided that are unavailable to others under Obamacare.
“Members of Congress, having imposed Obamacare on the American people, now want to evade its mandates,” Cassidy said.
“If middle-class families have to face higher premiums because of the law, then so should politicians.”
A recent poll taken for Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative group, found that 92 percent of voters think Congress should not be exempted from the insurance provisions of Obamacare.
Following are the stipulations in H.R. 3076 that require Congressional participation in Obamacare:
- The bill clarifies that Members do not have the authority to define “official staff” and can thereby not exempt any of their staff from going into the exchange.
- Under President Obama’s recent exemption, discretion is given to individual offices to decide who qualifies as official staff that must enter into the exchanges.
- The bill requires all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.
- The President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration are not currently required to enter the federal exchanges.
- The bill also says that Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration will receive the same amount of financial support from tax credits or subsidies as any American would outside of Washington.
- The bill prohibits Members, political appointees, President and Vice President from receiving tax-payer funded contributions in the form of subsidies, tax credits, or employer contribution to purchase insurance on the exchange- as in most of these cases they earn well above the maximum income ($43,000 individual/$92,000 family) and would otherwise be ineligible for subsidies or tax credits as defined in the statute.