Share

POLITICS: PennAve

Rand Paul: Amend Constitution to end special treatment for lawmakers

By |
Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Obamacare,Senate,House of Representatives,Health Care,Rand Paul,PennAve,Constitutionality,Vitter amendment

One of the central fights over Obamacare during this month's government funding battle focused on whether Congress should be exempted from parts of the new health care law.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Monday introduced a constitutional amendment that would end the debate.

Paul wants to amend the U.S. Constitution so that members of Congress, the Executive and Judicial branch are subject to the laws in the same way as the rest of America.

In other words, they could not give themselves fine-print exclusions from laws they expect others to follow.

Lawmakers fought for weeks over whether to pass a measure that would have subjected Congress and its staff to all the rules and regulations of the new health care law.

Congress and congressional employees must join the health care exchanges that opened Oct. 1, but thanks to an exception carved out by President Obama, they will continue to receive federal government subsidies amounting to about 72 percent of the cost of the health insurance they're required to purchase. The law does not allow the rest of the public to continue to receive employer subsidies once they join the health insurance exchanges.

Congress last week, in forging a deal to re-open the federal government and raise the nation's borrowing limit, rejected a measure authored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., that would have eliminated the special congressional subsidies after Democrats refused to go along, saying they feared a "brain drain" of staff fleeing Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers rejected another proposal that would have required President Obama and his family to joint the exchanges.

Paul's measure, which would apply to both the White House and the Supreme Court if it passed, would be the 28th amendment to the Constitution. Constitutional amendments must pass with a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate and must be ratified by 38 of the 50 states.

The Constitution has not been successfully amended since 1992, when the U.S. approved a measure prohibiting any change to the pay of an elected House or Senate lawmaker from taking effect until after an intervening election. That amendment took nearly 103 years to pass from the time of introduction, according to the National Archives.

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner