On Monday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) filed suit, challenging how Barack Obama is applying his signature legislation to members of Congress and their staff.
According to Reuters, Johnson’s challenge is to a U.S. agency, which has decided to continue to allow the federal government to continue its payments of part of the costs of health insurance for members of Congress and their staff, who must purchase health coverage in the Obamacare marketplace.
“I think it’s just a basic issue of fairness,” Johnson said at a Washington, D.C., news conference. “I really do believe the American people expect, and they have every right to expect, that members of Congress, the political class here in Washington, should be fully subject to all of the rules, all of the laws, that Congress imposes on the rest of America.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
The lawsuit stems from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires members of Congress and their staffs to buy health insurance on the marketplaces set up through the law, which is also known as Obamacare.
A rule issued in October by the personnel office stated that the federal government could continue to contribute to pay the cost of health benefits for members of Congress and their staffs — just as it does for other federal employees — even though they would be buying health insurance on a marketplace.
Some are saying that Johnson’s lawsuit is going to create a rift in the Republican Party. One of those who believes that is Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who appealed to Johnson last Friday to not file the lawsuit. Sensenbrenner has been a critic of Obamacare received an emphatic “No” from Johnson.
Sensenbrenner seemed to defend Congress and staff getting subsidized health insurance plans, claiming that this is a common benefit and that removing it would cause top congressional staff to leave and be replaced with college graduates who are still on their parent’s insurance plans.
“The result of that is going to be a brain drain from Congress,” he said. “The effect of that is going to be the Obama administration is going to be able to run circles around Congress more than they do now.”
This seems a bit absurd. I would much rather see people paying for their own insurance than government subsidies for it. At a press conference, Johnson expressed “disappointment” and being “puzzled” at Sensenbrenner’s stance.
“I don’t in any way, shape or form believe this is trivial, believe this is frivolous, believe this is a stunt,” Johnson said.
The Wisconsin Senator then appeared on The Kelly File to discuss his lawsuit over Obamacare subsidies for members of Congress.
Johnson was asked why he was suing in court rather than using his powers in Congress to defund Obamacare or have Barack Obama impeached. Johnson believes Congress has exhausted their legislative attempts at defunding and correcting the Affordable Care Act and that is why he is pursuing the lawsuit in the courts.
The Wisconsin senator said that members of Congress get “unfair” pre-tax advantages when they purchase their healthcare through the exchanges. “No other American gets that same special treatment,” he said.
Johnson went on to say, “Let’s face it, this president, across the board, has pretty well just ignored his constitutional duty, his oath of office, ‘to faithfully execute the law. ‘ So if you don’t like the law, fine. I don’t like the law. You have to come to Congress and you actually have to change the law. You have to pass a new law. That’s the way our republic is supposed to work.”
He clarifies that members of Congress and their staff will get subsidies, no matter their income, while the rest of Americans who earn the same amount of money may not get those subsidies.
Kelly did make a good observation that if the court ruled in Johnson’s favor, it would be the Justice Department that would have to enforce the ruling and that would be considered unthinkable, considering the past track record of Obama’s Department of Justice.
Johnson wants members of Congress to feel the “full harsh reality of the law.” He said members of Congress seemed OK with Obamacare until the ‘zero hour’ and then they started scrambling.
I think the Republicans in Congress should have gotten some backbone and not funded Obamacare, then not budged on it. However, they didn’t do that. They talked a good game and even made a play like they were going to make a strong stand, but in the end they rolled over and gave Obama and the Democrats everything they wanted. Should Johnson win the lawsuit and the DOJ not enforce the ruling, it will only be more evidence that this administration is composed of criminals who ignore the law, instead of enforcing it, which is their primary job.
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