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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boehner, Health Care, and Congressional Coverage

A Politico report suggests that Speaker John Boehner is involved in talks to exempt lawmakers and staff from the insurance exchanges in the Affordable Care Act.  If the report is accurate, Boehner's stance is peculiar.  In 1995, he voted for the Congressional Accountability Act (aka the Shays Act) to cover Congress under certain laws from which it had exempted itself. On January 4 of that year, Boehner said:
But I hope there will be two things that come as a result of this legislation actually being enacted. First is that Members will begin to realize when we are drafting bills and we are building bills here on the floor, that the full weight of these bills will in fact fall upon us as Members of Congress. I think that with the passage of this bill, that Members will recognize that fact, that we are going to have to live under these. We might be a little more cautious.
 Second, I would point out that we ought to, as we begin to live under these laws, we are going to realize that the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Civil Rights Act, and other laws we have exempted ourselves from, are rather weighty. They are weighty on the private sector, and they are going to be very difficult for all of the Members to comply with under our current structure. So we are going to have two choices, and we ought to have a debate about whether we should continue to live under the laws as they were drafted, or whether in fact we ought to go back and listen to what the American people said on November 8 when they said Government is too big, it spends too much, and is too intrusive, and maybe we ought to look at some of those laws and revise a lot of them.