I’m late in any posting on this topic but the House GOP should have certainly expected the public to hold them far more accountable than Democrats or President Obama — I mean, that’s just one of the many big advantages in having an alphabet soup of television networks that carry water for your causes.
So while I completely agree with Andrew McCarthy that, Constitutionally speaking, the House has every right to not fund bills, and while I completely agree with “econlumnist” Thomas Sewell that the Democrats — not the Republicans — were actually the ones voting against funding the government, and while I perfectly sympathize with exasperated Tea Partiers, so tired of an administration that used the IRS to bully their right to speech, that said “Enough!” to our $17 trillion-and-counting debt (or $205 trillion apparently), they all had to just know that this thing would be spun as a loss for Republicans.
In the meantime they took the spotlight off of a bungling Obama Administration that can’t even get a website working (healthcare.gov), let alone run one-seventh of the economy that is healthcare. Fortunately, with the shutdown behind us conservatives can go back to arguing the virtues of limited government, and frankly, the federal government’s incompetence is doing most of that job for them. Incompetence, unfortunately, for its citizens.
And, by the way, to date nobody has ever effectively retorted my number one issue with Obamacare — if it’s so damn good, then why isn’t our president, our senators, our representatives, and other elected officials, on it? Why do they actively oppose any effort to get themselves on it?
As close observers of history and human nature, James Madison and the other Founders of the U.S. Constitution knew that the equal and unbiased application of the law to all people, especially elected officials, is essential to freedom and justice and one of the primary safeguards from authoritarianism and oppression by a ruling class.
And so, referring to the members of Congress, James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 57: “[T]hey can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.”
Today, elected officials need to be reminded of these truths. Under pressure from Congress, the White House has carved out a special exemption for Congress and its staffers from ObamaCare—the law it recently deemed necessary for the entire country. No Republicans voted for ObamaCare. Yet it appears that some of them support the exemption President Obama approved on his own—so they would not have to go on record with a vote for or against it.
This is the height of hypocrisy, and worse, a trampling of the Founders’ code of equal application of the law. Having forced a health law on the American people, the White House and Democrats now seek to insulate themselves from the noxious portions of the law, and from the implementation struggles, indecision and uncertainty that many other Americans face today.
In other words, Congress’s health-care premiums will not rise, but yours may. Members of Congress will be able to afford to keep their health-insurance plan, but you may be kicked off yours. They will be able to afford to keep their doctors, but you may have to find a new one.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Republican from Florida, recently put forward legislation—aptly named the James Madison Congressional Accountability Act—which would end the special exemption. In the Senate, Republicans David Vitter of Louisiana and Mike Enzi of Wyoming have also introduced legislation to end the exemption.
In response, several Democratic senators have reacted by drafting legislation that would punish anyone who votes for Sen. Vitter’s plan by permanently blocking an exemption from them and their staff, even if Mr. Vitter’s law doesn’t pass. It doesn’t get more vindictive and petty than that.