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Tags: Sen. Mitch McConnell | No Exemptions | Obamacare | Sen. David Vitter

'No Exemption' Bill Means Congress Signs Up for Obamacare

Michael Shannon By Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:51 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Last December I wrote of Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and his lonely fight to make our elected panjandrums and their courtesans live under the same laws we do. Details here.

Specifically Vitter’s goal is to require all members of Congress, their staff, the president, vice president, and all appointees to obey the Obamacare rules they unilaterally imposed on the rest of the nation.

This means all these worthies would be forced to log on to an Obamacare Exchange. Motto — reboot, reinstall, relinquish all hope. Meaning also, purchase the same health insurance the rest of us do, giving up the $5,000 to $10,000 a year subsidy they are soaking up from taxpayers — regardless of their total income.

Vitter believes this principle is so important that he purchased an individual policy on the Louisiana exchange and refused all subsidies. When asked if he was able to persuade any of his fellow members from Louisiana to follow his example, Vitter demurred, “I don't know offhand how other individual members handle it. I will say I think although this has been a long battle, we are picking up support.”

Chances for success last year were bleak because Vitter was fighting Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. There was no chance his bill would ever be brought to the floor for a vote. Now Harry’s gone 10 rounds with a rubber band and lost, while Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans have taken control.

The Senate Republican Caucus has voted to require its members to take the policy plunge and buy health insurance on the exchange — but there’s no enforcement mechanism.

When you consider the text of the Constitution has zero impact on Senate Democrats and the executive branch, you can imagine how much influence a vote of the GOP caucus will have.

Vitter, conservatives, and taxpayers want his “No Exemption” bill to come to the floor for an open vote. Vitter is optimistic. He thinks it may happen soon, but it would happen a lot faster if McConnell and the Senate leadership were behind him.

Vitter explains he’s been criticized by fellow Republicans, “There’s been a lot of pushback because this is an inconvenient issue.” He’s confident his staff is in complete support of this noble effort to cost them money, but something tells me it is not a viewpoint universally shared by other GOP staff members.

Vitter is extremely tactful when asked if McConnell is among his supporters. Discussing the chances of a floor vote he said, “Mitch says he’s committed to an open floor process. I’m looking for any floor opportunity where I can attach my bill as an amendment to legislation.”

Which means Vitter doesn’t have leadership support. Otherwise he could bring No Exemptions up for a stand–alone vote, then send it to the House. Assuming McConnell stands by his word, Vitter will have to piggyback on another bill.

Vitter believes voting in the open will have a bracing effect on legislative hypocrites, but I’m not so optimistic. Everything hinges on the underlying bill, because the vote won’t be a clean vote on a single issue.

Since the amendment will be part of a larger bill, slippery, disingenuous politicians — but I repeat myself — will be able to explain their “no” vote by saying, “I support the courageous effort of my good friend and colleague David Vitter, and I would have been proud to vote for the “No Exemption Act,” but the rest of the bill endorsing motherhood and apple pie was so egregious I had no choice but to vote against it.

Even if his bill, which is co–sponsored by senators Mike Lee, R-Utah,  and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, makes it though the Senate, it faces an uncertain fate in the House. That craven caucus wouldn’t support Vitter in a secret vote last year.

This fight is important because it strikes at the heart of what it means to live in a republic. If the laws apply to everyone but the lawgivers, then the U.S. is now an oligarchy of the elites.

As Vitter puts it, “This is what America hates about Washington. The ruling class doesn’t think it has to live under the same rules that apply to everyone else.” Now that he’s chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Vitter doesn’t have to wait for a vote to have an impact.

Currently he’s blocking the appointment of Earl Gay to be the Deputy Director of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) until he receives all the correspondence related to the decision to classify Congress, which employs 16,000 people, as a small business to take advantage of Obamacare subsidies denied the rest of us.

Taxpayers should demand both houses give Vitter’s No Exemption bill a vote. I fear even with the change in ownership, conservatives are facing a Who situation — Meet the new hypocrites, same as the old hypocrites.

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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This fight is important because it strikes at the heart of what it means to live in a republic. If the laws apply to everyone but the lawgivers, then the U.S. is now an oligarchy of the elites.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, No Exemptions, Obamacare, Sen. David Vitter
Thursday, 26 February 2015 12:51 PM
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