Theodore's World: More From Dictator Obama : Obamacare Exempts top Hill staff

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March 24, 2010

More From Dictator Obama : Obamacare Exempts top Hill staff

Health bill may exempt top Hill staff


The health care reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama Tuesday requires members of Congress and their office staffs to buy insurance through the state-run exchanges it creates – but it may exempt staffers who work for congressional committees or for party leaders in the House and Senate.

Staffers and members on both sides of the aisle call it an “inequity” and an “outrage” – a loophole that exempts the staffers most involved in writing and passing the bill from one of its key requirements.

The bill requires “congressional staff” to buy insurance from the exchanges – with a stipend from the Office of Personnel Management But page 158 of the bill defines “congressional staff” narrowly, as “employees employed by the official office of a member of congress, whether in the district office or in Washington.”

The Congressional Research Service believes a court could rule that the legislation "would exclude professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices.”

If that’s so, staffers who work for Nancy Pelosi in her capacity as representative from California would go into the exchange program, while staffers who work for her in her capacity as speaker would stay on the government’s plan. Other Capitol employees, like those who work for the Clerk of the House or the House Historian, would be similarly exempted.

Republican Senators Sens. Tom Coburn and Chuck Grassley, who both say they tried to correct the issue last year, are firing at Senate leadership, saying that Democrats purposely exempted upper-level staffers out of the bill.

“The American people will be appalled to learn the health care bill exempts leadership and committee staff. This special deal for unelected staff underscores everything the public detests about the arrogance of power in Washington,” Coburn said. “I tried to fix this inequity along with senators Grassley, Burr and Vitter, but Majority Leader [Harry] Reid obstructed our effort.”

Reid spokesman Jim Manley acknowledged that the bill exempts committee staff but argued that leadership staff is not excluded.

“The new health care law creates two double standards. The congressional staff who wrote the new law exempted themselves from the new health care system, while other staff will be in it,” Grassley said today in a statement. “And, President Obama himself will not live under Obama health care. The message to grassroots America is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

A band of additional lawmakers, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) say they want the health care reform extended to all staffers.

“It is ironic that the very staffers and members who were saying ‘if you like what you have you can keep it,’ are discovering that they may be the first casualties of that betrayal. I bet that in the coming weeks, the hypocrisy of this loophole will pale in comparison to the other flaws we’ll discover,” Blackburn said.

Some Republican staffers are furious about what they see as special treatment for committee and leadership aides.

“It is absolutely outrageous that the very people who were directly responsible for writing this legislation put in an exemption for themselves. It’s doesn’t get much more self-serving than that, and it’s downright offensive,” said one Republican staffer.

The potential for different treatment also exasperates the envy some office staffers feel toward their committee counterparts.

“There is a view held by many people that committee work is more stable. It pays a little better and you’re not as subject to the cyclical nature of elections,” one House Republican staffer said. “So, there is a perception that overall, committee staff have better jobs. This is an inequity.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he’s heard nervous cloakroom and speaker’s lobby staffers discussing their confusion over which staffers would be covered and which would not.

“Staff is already buzzing about it. It creates disillusionment because of the uncertainty. Obviously staffers are anxious about it,” Chaffetz said. “The whole bill is full of loopholes, it’s such a mess.”


Wild Thing's comment.......

“The whole bill is full of loopholes, it’s such a mess.”

It sure as heck is and that is only for starters how bad it is. I hope the staff do get angry about this, they should. This double standard is HUGE and shows even more how agaisnt all our Founding Fathers wanted.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 24, 2010 04:50 AM


Fine example they've set.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 24, 2010 08:09 AM

Why are any staffers worried about being included in the bill if it is such a "good deal". Seems like all of them would be clamoring to be included.

Posted by: TomR at March 24, 2010 09:46 AM

Just like Cuba. There are the common people then there are the Elites, the ones granted the priviledges. Talk about straight to communism.

“I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man,
It is my right to be uncommon—if I can. I seek opportunity—not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, ‘This I have done.’”

From Colonel Bob Papas' new article.

Posted by: Mark at March 24, 2010 03:20 PM

Dr. Zhicago and his Barackshevik Revolution is fully unleashed patriots!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at March 24, 2010 05:27 PM

Anonymous, that's for sure. It is disgusting the me me me attitude these people have.

Tom, LOL thatis what gets me too, the staffers, our politicians ( the ones on the left especially don't want it for themselves. sheesh!!!!! This has to be the height of double standard.

Mark,thank you so much for that from the Col.

Darth, exactly.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 25, 2010 01:30 AM

"Some Animals are more equal than others"

Read "Animal farm" it is a stupid story but has some really good observations about progressives.

Posted by: Avitar at March 25, 2010 01:39 AM