Thursday, April 23, 2015

As luck would have it ...

Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

That's headline news at NPR.
"We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccounted money out of it, once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment," she said to a gathering at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa.
Well, the indefatigable Michael Cannon, blogging at, provides a rich target;
The longest-running and perhaps most significant way the administration has broken the law to protect ObamaCare is by issuing illegal subsidies to members of Congress.
.... Many members of Congress and their staffs were therefore surprised to learn that, as of the moment the president signed the ACA [aka, Obamacare], that very law threw them out of their health plans. The ACA prohibits members of Congress and their staffs from receiving health coverage through the Federal Employees’ Health Benefits Program. They remained free to purchase health insurance on their own, but they would have to do so without the [tax free] $10,000 or so the federal government “contributed” to their FEHBP premiums. In effect, the ACA gave members of Congress a pay cut of around $10,000.
 When that fact became apparent, congress had the perfect, bi-partisan, incentive to re-write the law. Which Barack Obama didn't want them to do. So, what's the big deal about a little law?
Rather than risk Congress reopening the ACA to restore their lost health coverage – because who knows what other changes Congress might make in the process – the administration simply pretended that that part of the law didn’t exist. The Office of Personnel Management announced that members of Congress and their staffs could remain in the FEHBP until the ACA’s Exchanges launched in 2014. The president thus stuck to his promise, if you like your health plan, and you’re a member of Congress, you can keep your health plan.
But what happens after 2014, and that matter of the $10K income tax free?
...the law still cut off that $10,000 “employer contribution” to their health benefits. According to Politico, “OPM initially ruled that lawmakers and staffers couldn’t receive the subsidies once they went into the exchanges.” After the president intervenedOPM just ignored that part of the law and started issuing (illegal) subsidies on the order of $10,000 to hundreds of individual members of Congress and thousands of individual congressional staffers.
Cannon labels these subsidies, 'bribes'. And, apparently so does Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who chairs the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. He's been trying to draw attention to these 'bribes' to himself and his colleagues (and their staffers). Polling shows that 90% of the voters agree that this stratagem of the Obama Administration is unfair, so why did five Republicans on the committee vote with the nine Democrats to retain them?

Cannon asked;
I have spoken to many GOP staffers, including leadership staff, about how these illegal subsidies are immoral and standing in the way of ObamaCare repeal. Their faces freeze the moment I raise the subject. Often, they don’t say another word and leave the room as quickly as they can. I understand their fear. They have families. Mortgages. Illnesses. To them, ending these illegal subsidies seems like a $10,000 hit to their annual income.
Unaccounted money for the powerful. You go, girl.

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