Tags: Rule of Law | Sen. Harry Reid | Democrats

Special Treatment Brings Disrespect for the Law

Friday, 26 December 2014 03:09 PM Current | Bio | Archive

I hate to end the year on a depressing note, but when conservatives are depressed by what passes for leadership in the House there is not much alternative.

Earlier I wrote about Sen. David Vitter’s struggle to force members of the Senate to live under the same Obamacare regime forced on those of us who don’t occupy the lofty seats of power. Details here:

Briefly, Vitter wants senators and their staff to use the government exchanges for their health insurance, just like the citizens who voted them into office do. Initially, that was what the law required, but Democrat Harry Reid persuaded Obama to issue one his famous executive orders exempting members and staff from the law that’s good enough for the rest of us.

Incidentally, this is how the rule of law begins to erode. Instead of the law applying equally to all citizens regardless of their station in life, the law only applies to those who are unable to gain special treatment through influence, friends, money, or bloodlines. The unfavored many see the special treatment given the favored few and begin to lose respect for all the laws. Then one gradually finds himself living in Venezuela.

The first step for Vitter was to persuade the Senate to require all employees to buy insurance on the exchanges. The second step was to eliminate the subsidies given members and staff. A subsidy granted regardless of income and, it goes without saying, is not available to the taxpayer. They just get the bill.

The good news is Vitter convinced the Senate Republican Conference to pass a rule requiring Republicans designating all their employees as official. A positive precedent which may lead to a vote on the floor of the Senate overturning the executive order and removes the subsidy, too.

Unfortunately the Senate is where this effort for equity may die. Republican leadership in the House under Squeaker John Boehner has once again betrayed conservatives.

The Washington Times, which has done an excellent but lonely job of keeping the issue before the public, reports that last month the House Republican Caucus had a chance to live up to its rhetoric and failed once again.

In a closed-door session Rep. Ron DeSantis made a proposal that would duplicate Vitter’s Senate stance. The effort failed in a secret vote. This allows ostensibly conservative GOP House members to continue the hypocrisy of calling for the repeal of Obamacare while exempting themselves and their staff from its effects. A favor they don’t extend to constituents.

And the reason, like so many other excuses used by the GOP in the House, is pathetic.
DeSantis told the Times, " . . . opponents of his proposal said they were afraid valuable committee staffers would be affected too, or they argued they'd opposed Obamacare in the first place, and so they shouldn't have to force their workers to abide by it.

But Mr. DeSantis said those were unacceptable excuses, particularly since House Republicans are suing President Obama for stepping around the letter of the law. ‘You, as a member, are not abiding by it,’ he said.” Essentially those brave sound bite patriots — to steal a phrase from Tom Paine — who promise to “fight for you in Washington” and provide “leadership you can trust” are too weak to tell people who work for them they have to suffer under the same law as those paying their salaries.

Or as Rep. Michael C. Burgess observed, “"The biggest issue is that senators and members should not be subsidized for their insurance. That's preposterous."

The Times thinks that Vitter’s successful Senate caucus vote will put pressure on the House to change, but I disagree. Reporters aren’t badgering Boehner about the issue and the only way the mainstream media will become interested is if the issue can be used to make Republicans look bad without damaging Obamacare.

If you believe elected officials and their staff should be forced to follow the same laws as the rest of us then it’s up to you to put pressure on your Republican Congressman.

Attend the next town meeting, demand to know how they voted on DeSantis’ proposal. Don’t accept the shuffle that it was a secret ballot. Then ask if their staff is using the exchange. Don’t accept the “it’s a personnel matter” excuse, because the law requires disclosure.

And finally, tell your representative you expect a “yes” vote for a change in the law that will remove Obamacare subsidies for elected officials and their staff. And in the meantime, his constituents want his staff to use the exchange.

Then post the response on LinkedIn, Facebook, your blog and write a letter to the editor. If we don’t hold their feet to the fire Obamacare justice won’t happen.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.



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The unfavored many see the special treatment given the favored few and begin to lose respect for all the laws.
Rule of Law, Sen. Harry Reid, Democrats
Friday, 26 December 2014 03:09 PM
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