Lawmakers become lawbreakers as special Obamacare exemptions granted

By begging for a special exemption from Obamacare, Congress has lost moral authority to object to how the President skirts our laws. Photo: Newt Gingrich touting Contract with America AP photo

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2013 — Our elected lawmakers are breaking the law with the full complicity of President Obama. 

Members of Congress were panicking because the Affordable Care Act required them and their staffs to get their health coverage through Obamacare’s insurance exchanges. They would lose the top-notch coverage they get through their current taxpayer-subsidized health plans.

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So at the request of both political parties, President Obama is bailing-out Congress, granting them a special exemption even though it violates the plain language of the law.

An amendment added to Obamacare by Sen. Charles Grassley (R, Iowa) had dictated that Congress and its staff must get their insurance through the exchanges. The idea followed an old, quaint notion that Republicans had adopted in their Contract With America since 1994, namely that the same laws would apply to Congress as apply to everybody else.

Now faced with the prospect of being treated as ordinary Americans, Congress for weeks has begged Obama to save them, but without their having to vote to change the law for their own benefit. The President is obliging through an interpretation that the Office of Personnel Management is to issue.

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Congress receives an indulgence. Everybody else, you’re second-class citizens. Unless you’re part of the Obama Administration. Or a special friend of Obama’s. Or part of Congress. Otherwise you have to obey our laws like mere mortals. You must do what Obamacare dictates.

This means that Congress has lost its moral authority to object to the other ways the Obama Administration is ignoring or skirting our laws.

The President can tell lawmakers that now you’re part of the gang. By asking for an exemption and getting it, you’ve been initiated. That’s why street gangs have newbies pull the trigger on a drive-by shooting. Once you’ve broken the law in front of witnesses, you can’t squeal on the gang because now you’re just as guilty.

You have blood on your hands. Once you take advantage of flouting the law, you’re one of the outlaws.

Congress, you’ll be told to quit griping about the labor unions and others who were given special Obamacare exemptions by bureaucratic edict. And quit whining about the other royal decrees that contradict these plain laws:

  • The delay of the employer mandate until after the 2014 elections.

  • The “deferred action” (otherwise known as amnesty) in prosecuting those who break immigration laws.

  • The undoing of work requirements for various welfare programs.

  • The legal evasions used to justify Big Brother in monitoring our phones and what we do online.

  • Thumbing noses at Congress’ right to know about the Fast and Furious scandal and the IRS’ suppression of Tea Party groups.

Now you have no right to complain.

Now you, Congress, can leave for a summer break with a spring in your step, confident you won’t fall prey to Obamacare. So don’t even try to de-fund it.

Maybe you should also use its true name, the Affordable Care Act. Your fellow gangmembers want to hear you stress that word “affordable” without breaking into laughter.

You’ve overcome the bad old days when we had the Contract With America and Congress pledged to live under the laws it created, just like everybody else had to. At last, that thing is dead and buried.

Welcome to the club, Congress! Welcome to the ranks of first-class citizens.

And for the multitude of second-class citizens, the rest of America, please contact your nearest community organizer if you want to wise up. They’re listed in the Chicago phone book.

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Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook spent 25 years in public office, including 14 years in Congress. He was rated one of the top 25 conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then was a Heritage Foundation fellow and a fellow at Harvard's Insitute of Politics, where he led a study group on Propaganda in American Politics Today. 

Now as a radio host and a commentator, Ernest aims to expose Washington's gimmicks--to help you avoid the pitfalls. He brings clarity out of the confusion. 

Native to Texas, Ernest transplanted to Oklahoma after graduating from Baylor University.

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