Sensenbrenner Rips Into Johnson for Obamacare Lawsuit

Image: Sensenbrenner Rips Into Johnson for Obamacare Lawsuit Sen. Ron Johnson, left, and Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Monday, 06 Jan 2014 06:33 PM

By Amy Woods

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A fellow Republican and Wisconsonite has taken political aim at the lawsuit Sen. Ron Johnson has filed against President Barack Obama's administration over the Affordable Care Act, The Hill reported Monday.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner called the suit, filed in federal court, an "unfortunate political stunt" that makes an issue out of the health-insurance contributions received by lawmakers and their Capitol Hill staff members.

"I am committed to repealing Obamacare, but the employer contribution he's attacking is nothing more than a standard benefit that most private and all federal employees receive, including the president," Sensenbrenner said Sunday in a statement. "Success in the suit will mean that Congress will lose some of its best staff and will be staffed primarily by recent college graduates who are still on their parents' insurance. This will make it even more difficult to fight the president and his older, more experienced staff."

Johnson retorted during a press conference that he is "disappointed and puzzled" at Sensenbrenner's criticism.

"I have always respected Congressman Sensenbrenner, but I am disappointed and puzzled by his disagreement with me on an issue that all but two congressional Republicans, including Congressman Sensenbrenner, have voted in favor of — ending the special treatment for members of Congress and their staffs under Obamacare," Johnson said.

"Americans are justifiably outraged when members of Congress exempt themselves from the very laws they impose on everyone else. With the help of President Obama, that is exactly what Democrats have done once again."

Johnson continued, "By no means do I believe this issue is trivial or my lawsuit to overturn this injustice is frivolous. This is an issue of basic fairness that I believe is worth fighting for."

The Office of Personnel Management decided last year to provide contributions to members of Congress and their staff, just as it does for other government workers. Johnson said that decision represents special treatment for Congress, is illegal, and violates the Constitution.

Sensenbrenner said Johnson would be better served "legislating rather than litigating."

"All Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but this politically motivated lawsuit only takes public attention away from how bad all of Obamacare really is and focuses it on a trivial issue," Sensenbrenner said. "Fortunately, Sen. Johnson's suit is likely frivolous and will not achieve the result he's seeking."

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