A Litmus Test for GOP Leadership

 

shutterstock_225535513A big topic of conversation in the Beltway and beyond is the new Republican leadership elections scheduled for next week. While most are asking who will replace Boehner’s team, the more important question is what will they do differently?

There’s a great opportunity for new GOP leadership to differentiate themselves, which will start the process of taking advantage of their majorities in both houses. It’s past time for Republicans to move legislation that Democrats can’t duck and that will advance our strategic interests and policy goals, and it’s what Americans want to see Republicans do.

As I recently wrote in The Hill, here’s the most effective one:

When Congress enacted Obamacare the law specified that Congress and its staff would live under all the law’s requirements and go on to the exchanges same as everyone else who went on the exchanges.

Since passage, however, Congress sought and the White House granted a special exemption that does two things: it exempts some staff entirely, and it provides Members of Congress and staff, regardless of income, Gold Level coverage with a 75 percent subsidy of costs, worth about $5,000 for a single individual and $11,000 for a family, something which would be illegal for any other American to receive or business to provide.

Undoing this exemption would give members and staff, regardless of party, a huge personal incentive to repeal Obamacare and reform medical care.

Rep. DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Sen. Vitter (R-La.) introduced legislation to get rid of the exemptions, but leadership never allowed it to come to a vote.

With the current insider vs. outsider Zeitgeist driving so much of today’s politics (Trump/Carson/Fiorina vs. Boehner/McConnell/Jeb), this is hugely popular issue with more than 80% of voters wanting the exemption revoked as of last spring.

Getting rid of the Obamacare exemption, and getting Congress and their staff on the exchanges, unsubsidized, would do more to hasten the repealing and replacing of Obamacare than anything else conservatives might offer. Nothing is so motivating as health care coverage moving from being some constituent’s problem to one’s own problem.

Here’s the perfect litmus test for any new Speaker and leadership team: will they commit to hold a vote to repeal the special exemption?

Of course, there is no way that candidates for GOP leadership will initiate this on their own. It will only be adopted with a compelling chorus of constituents and the commentariat demanding Members satisfy this demand. So make yourselves heard!

Published in Healthcare, Politics
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There are 14 comments.

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  1. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I remember Boehner promising all bills would be posted for 72 hours before a vote. I think that lasted until the first omnibus, pass at midnight, resolution came to the floor. I am not too interested in the promises made by anyone on Boehner’s leadership team.

    • #1
  2. Heather Higgins Contributor
    Heather Higgins
    @HeatherHiggins

    I believe the promise was 3 days – which they skirted with a technicality by starting the clock at 11:59pm on day 1, and closing at 12:01AM on day 3 – a point of high disgust with many Members.

    Concur promises aren’t worth much, but this is really about setting the table for what a new leadership will feel their Members are pressing them to do to distinguish themselves.

    • #2
  3. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Sen. Vitter led the effort to identify who signed the application to designate the U.S. congress as a small business. Rand Paul derailed the effort. Paul is a perfect example of what happens after arriving in D.C. and infected with the establishment virus. It’s hard to distinguish Paul from McConnell which explains the failure of Paul’s presidential candidacy.

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    This is a good idea.

    • #4
  5. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    Heather Higgins:Of course, there is no way that candidates for GOP leadership will initiate this on their own.

    Isn’t that the problem?

    • #5
  6. Ward Robles Inactive
    Ward Robles
    @WardRobles

    I like it! Ask Members of Congress early and often: “Should Congress have to live under the same health care law as most of the public or continue to get subsidized gold coverage?” Call in to talk shows, put it on placards, show up to public events, and generally get in their faces. Polititians fall in line fast when enough people are paying attention.

    • #6
  7. Heather Higgins Contributor
    Heather Higgins
    @HeatherHiggins

    Solon JF – indeed it is the problem. Revoking the exemption will never get a vote until it is, in the cost/benefit calculation of Members, more worth voting to revoke than to keep. Which is why this is a good moment for it – any new leadership will be looking for things to do to distinguish themselves, and this operates to that end on many levels.

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    While most are asking who will replace Boehner’s team, the more important question is what will they do differently?

    Yes!

    • #8
  9. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Congressmen should be required to live under the laws they pass – all the laws.

    • #9
  10. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Richard Fulmer:Congressmen should be required to live under the laws they pass – all the laws.

    This has been a mantra of conservatives since at least the early 1970’s.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    jetstream:

    Richard Fulmer:Congressmen should be required to live under the laws they pass – all the laws.

    This has been a mantra of conservatives since at least the early 1970′s.

    The thing about a mantra is that it needs to be repeated frequently.  Mr. Fulmer is doing his part, as we should as well.

    • #11
  12. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    The Reticulator:

    jetstream:

    Richard Fulmer:Congressmen should be required to live under the laws they pass – all the laws.

    This has been a mantra of conservatives since at least the early 1970′s.

    The thing about a mantra is that it needs to be repeated frequently. Mr. Fulmer is doing his part, as we should as well.

    It didn’t work back then either. I agree with Richard, but which Republican leader is going to make it happen. The Republicans have already colluded with the Democrats to identify Congress as a small business under Obamacare. So, who you gonna call.

    • #12
  13. SEnkey Inactive
    SEnkey
    @SEnkey

    What do I want leadership to do differently? Lead. I feel like all I’ve heard is what is not possible with the entire congress in republican hands. I’d like to start hearing a message of what is possible and what we will do and then see it done.

    What I hear: We can’t change the law, Obama will veto it.

    Better: We can’t change the law but we will bring attention to the issue.

    Best: We can’t change the law, but we will force democrats and Obama to take a very unpopular/immoral stance.

    • #13
  14. Solon JF Inactive
    Solon JF
    @Solon

    Heather Higgins:Solon JF – indeed it is the problem.Revoking the exemption will never get a vote until it is, in the cost/benefit calculation of Members, more worth voting to revoke than to keep.Which is why this is a good moment for it – any new leadership will be looking for things to do to distinguish themselves, and this operates to that end on many levels.

    I guess I don’t see what they really have to lose politically.  They will lose those sweet cadillac plans, but they will certainly distinguish themselves.  It would be nice to get congress’s approval rating up, and a move like this could influence the presidential race.

    • #14
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