WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Two Republican senators have announced their plan for legislation that would require that all members of Congress, the president, vice president and all political appointees in the administration to purchase their health insurance from the “Obamacare” exchanges without taxpayer subsidies.
Republican Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and David Vitter of Louisiana are looking to reverse a September decision by the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) that would allow government officials and staff to keep generous taxpayer-funded contributions.
“If ‘Obamacare’ is good enough for the American people, it should be good enough for Congress, the President and Vice President, and other policy makers in Washington,” Enzi wrote in a Tuesday press release.
“I’ve said from the beginning that this law wouldn’t work and we see that proof daily with the endless exemptions, delays, and subsidies being authorized by the President. There’s no excuse for trying to let certain individuals and businesses off the hook when the American people are already paying the price of bad policy.”
The Republican senators’ legislation comes as a series of conservative lawmakers are pushing to defund the president’s federal health care plan commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” In an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday night, former senator and current president of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint also ridiculed the health care plan.
“There’s no question, Greta, that if this isn’t worth fighting for, nothing is. I’ve never heard a Republican say they want to shut the government down, and that’s not the goal,” DeMint said.
“The relevant question is: Will Obama shut the government down in order to save his failed law? It’s unfair. It’s unworkable,” continued DeMint.
“He’s given waivers to Congress, waivers to big business, but not to the average American. So if the president chooses to shut the government down, it’s on him. I think Republicans should fund the government, but they should not fund ‘Obamacare.’”
Sens. Enzi and Vitter are looking to clarify eligibility for taxpayer subsidies and employer contributions for Congressional members and staffers under “Obamacare.” They say a “legislative fix” is needed to prevent lawmakers from receiving special treatment under the health care plan.
“These recent maneuverings inside the beltway are precisely why the American people rightly despise Congress,” Vitter said. “Our legislation gets right to the core of the OPM “fix” for Washington. Some of our colleagues may try some slick maneuver to avoid political backlash by allowing Members to hide their exemption from the public, but our amendment is clear.”