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About That Congressional "exemption" In Obamacare...


Leon Troutsky
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Looks like Boehner wanted the exemption while simultaneously wanting to blame Democrats for fixing it.

With the federal government nearing shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner stood on the House floor Monday and called on his colleagues to vote for a bill banning a “so-called exemption” that lawmakers and staffers receive for their health insurance.

“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 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.

During a five-month period stretching from February to July, Boehner and his aides sought along with Reid’s office to solve what had become a big headache for both of them. They drafted and reviewed a possible legislative fix, as well as continued to push for an administrative one from the Office of Personnel Management.

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.

Although the Oval Office session with Obama never came off, a senior Boehner aide spoke directly to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough about the speaker’s desire to retain the employer contribution for lawmakers and staff.

The issue of whether lawmakers and staff will continue to receive the employer contribution from the federal government — estimated at between $5,000 to $12,000 annually — has become political kryptonite on Capitol Hill.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers and aides are required to join insurance exchanges that begin operating on Tuesday, the same day the government shut down.

OPM initially ruled that lawmakers and staffers couldn’t receive the subsidies once they went into the exchanges. This caused an uproar in Congress, since lawmakers and aides were going to be treated differently than millions of Americans who receive these same subsidies from their employers.

Lawmakers and aides argued they weren’t seeking special treatment, but a level playing field with everyone else.

Under heavy pressure from Hill Democrats, Obama and top White House aides got personally involved in the dispute. OPM then reversed course and issued a regulation saying the subsidies would go on.

Boehner, however, injected the issue into the government-shutdown debate by attaching a measure to end the subsidies to a House GOP funding bill, which Senate Democrats adamantly oppose.

Boehner’s aides vehemently deny that the speaker’s private efforts contradict his public statements on the issue. They insist Democrats were the ones who enacted Obamacare and it is up to them to address the problem. Boehner said the White House should correct the problem though through an administrative solution, stating that no bill to do so could pass Congress.

“We always made it clear that the House would not pass any legislative ‘fix,’” said Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, on Monday night.

“As POLITICO has previously reported, Speaker Boehner was aware that Sen. Reid and the White House were discussing this issue. He was always clear, however, that any ‘fix’ would be a Democratic ‘fix.’ His ‘fix’ is repealing” Obamacare.

But according to several sources in attendance at a mid-July meeting with Reid, Boehner wondered aloud at one point whether he and the Nevada Democrat could quietly slip some language into a bill to end the problem without it receiving any public attention.

“When I was in the state legislature, we used to stick things in [bills] and no one would notice,” Boehner said during a private meeting with Reid in July to discuss this issue, the sources said.

Boehner’s aides then told him this would not be possible, so the idea was dropped.

The speaker and his chief of staff, Mike Sommers — who was at that July 17 meeting as well — cannot “recall the Speaker making such a comment,” Boehner’s office said.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/john-boehner-hill-obamacare-subsidies-97634.html#ixzz2gUkYW2hR

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That is just congress doing what congress does, but there is a way to fix congress, but it will never happen, because they have to do it themselves.

We have to end pensions, health care, health clubs, and any other taxpayer funded benefits or perks allowed to congress. Congress has created a dream world life for themselves that taxpayers who pay for it, could only wish for. This pampered life makes them do anything to prevent from losing it.

We make it illegal for congressmen to accept any type gift, donation, junket, or even a game of golf in any form from any source while in office. There are too many loop holes and ways to hide gifts or benefits, like those donor sponsored "fact finding" trips.

Finally, we make congress adide by all laws that they pass, just like all Americans. Do these things and we get rid of career politicians.

Edited by AREA51
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It's amazing how the Democrats can except themselves and their staff and even violate the law, but somehow the Republicans are the hypocrites here.

His lies are justified because others have. Glad to see that's the new definition of "hope and change".

Every time a Democrat is criticized for their dishonesty or outright lies, the left responds with, " he did it first".

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Why is it always a Democrat vs. Republican thing with you? News flash college professor THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.

An example of Democrats doing the kind of stuff we're seeing with the shutdown, please?

People have been harping on this "exemption". This was to make the point that not even the leaders of their own party think that their bill to eliminate this is a good idea.

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Why is it always a Democrat vs. Republican thing with you? News flash college professor THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.

I have to disagree with you. They are not the same. The Tea Party has destroyed the GOP. 30 people taking the whole party hostage to stop a law. They are willing to shutdown the federal government and not raise the debt ceiling.

I have yet to see the Dems do anything close to that.

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An example of Democrats doing the kind of stuff we're seeing with the shutdown, please?

People have been harping on this "exemption". This was to make the point that not even the leaders of their own party think that their bill to eliminate this is a good idea.

I'd say this particular action is atypical behavior. They usually all badmouth each other to the press then go have drinks together on k streets dime. Bravo to the 30 who decided not to go with the status quo for once. We used to celebrate guys who stood up against overbearing government policies. What happened?

I have to disagree with you. They are not the same. The Tea Party has destroyed the GOP. 30 people taking the whole party hostage to stop a law. They are willing to shutdown the federal government and not raise the debt ceiling.

I have yet to see the Dems do anything close to that.

You going to miss a paycheck or something?

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I'd say this particular action is atypical behavior. They usually all badmouth each other to the press then go have drinks together on k streets dime. Bravo to the 30 who decided not to go with the status quo for once. We used to celebrate guys who stood up against overbearing government policies. What happened?

So you support the government shutdown. Seems like the only people cheering for the shutdown are on the right.

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So you support the government shutdown. Seems like the only people cheering for the shutdown are on the right.

I'm not on "the right". I'm just glad someone finally drew a line in the sand for once. Also this isn't the first time the government has shutdown over political grandstanding so lets drop the chicken little routines.

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