Washington, D.C. – The American people are angry that Congress, businesses, and other politically connected groups are getting exemptions from Obamacare but not individuals. That was the message that U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., took to the Senate floor today as he discussed his efforts with Senator David Vitter, R-La., to prevent President Obama from exempting Members of Congress from having to live under the health care law they passed. The Vitter-Enzi legislation would require the president, vice president, and all political appointees to get their health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. Excerpts from Enzi’s speech are included below.
“The health care law requires members of Congress and Congressional staff to obtain health insurance through the new exchanges required by Obamacare next year. I voted to include Congress under the health care law in 2009 because I believe very strongly that Congress should have to live under the laws it passes. However, the Administration doesn’t appear to share this belief.
“I was in Wyoming for the last month or so, holding listening sessions and meeting with folks. People are angry that Congress gets some exemptions from Obamacare that they don’t. They are tired of the deal-making that happens here, instead of the legislating that should be occurring. They see these kinds of exemptions and don’t think it is fair. Neither do I.
“That is why Senator Vitter and I have introduced a bill that would prohibit members of Congress from receiving a contribution from the federal government towards their health insurance. Not only Congress, but the president, the Vice President, and the people responsible for implementing the health care law will not be allowed to receive any government subsidy. The President talks about how great the health care law will be for everyone, but the Administration doesn’t think it is so great that they should have to live under it. That should change.
“The legislation ensures that Congress and the Administration will have to live under the laws it passes and enforces by clarifying that all of us can only obtain our health insurance next year through an exchange. The bill also states 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.”