It doesn’t take a lot of politicians very long to become captured by Washington, D.C.’s sense of aristocratic entitlement; but given Rand Paul’s “outsider” image, his recent committee vote to protect illegal Congressional ObamaCare benefits was stunning. And disappointing.
The Senate Small Business Committee, chaired by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, voted recently on whether to issue a subpoena to the officials in charge of the District of Columbia’s ObamaCare Small Business Exchange. They wanted to know who from Congress (both the House and Senate) signed the applications swearing that Congress is a small business.
These applications opened the conduit for the federal government to give Members of Congress and their staffs ObamaCare benefits that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. This is in direct contravention to what the Affordable Care Act unambiguously states. The law enacted by Congress included an amendment that requires Congress to live under ObamaCare just as any citizen who lost the insurance they liked has.
But then, Congress realized that they, like millions of other Americans, were facing far higher costs, narrowed networks, and the headache of actually signing up. Worse, the law only provides subsidies to those below certain income limits. So, Congressional leaders from both parties quickly and quietly worked out a deal with the Obama Administration’s Office of Personnel Management that illegally put legislators and their staffs above the law.
Under this “aristocrat’s waiver,” legislator and staff salaries were simply not counted. Every applicant gets Gold level coverage with a 75% subsidy toward the cost. The DC Small Business Exchange even set up a dedicated line so Congressional applicants wouldn’t have to suffer the same frustrations as average Americans. It was a gold-plated bribe by the White House to quell Congressional anger that might have seen even Democrats cross the aisle to repeal or heavily modify what citizens–and they–were suffering.
But why were Congressional Obamacare benefits handled by a “small business” exchange? That’s the very question posed by Senator Vitter. In fact, the applications for Congress have congressional personnel administrators swearing to the complicit DC exchange that Congress has no more than 45 employees! In fact, more than 13,000 staffers and legislators now receive benefits through a small business exchange that cannot, by law, accept any business with more than 50 employees. “Fraud” is the word used by Vitter and many others.
To their credit Senator Vitter and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson passionately disagreed with the backroom deal to put Congress above the law they enacted. Johnson sued (and was denied standing), and Vitter is investigating. When Vitter first obtained the documentation allowing the benefits to pass through the DC Small Business Exchange, he saw that the names of the officials who signed the applications had been blacked out. Thus, he proposed a subpoena to force answers about who made these fraudulent assertions—which would then lead to the Congressional leaders (think Boehner, Pelosi, McConnell, and Reid) who authorized such a fraud.
Going into the committee meeting, it was expected that every Democrat would vote against issuing the subpoenas; and that’s exactly what happened. But Republicans enjoy a majority on the committee, and the widespread expectation was that they would prevail. Unfortunately, Rand Paul turned the tide against the motion.
When the vote was taken, five Republicans, led by Paul, voted to stop the subpoena. Together with the nine Democrats, the motion failed. Paul, who vows to “stop the Washington machine” as President, just derailed an effort to at least throw a wrench into the “machine’s” works.
He now says that he just didn’t want to put Congressional staffers on the line. Instead, he says, he’s introduced a measure to amend the Constitution to require Congress to obey all laws passed by Congress. But he knows full well that such a measure will never leave the Senate. It’s the very thing that drives voters mad—a pose without any substance that is designed to deceive.
The “Washington Machine” includes putting legislators above the laws that citizens must suffer under. It now includes Rand Paul who ran, won, and came to Washington an outsider and who now appears to be just like so many others—another insider who will willingly break ranks with those he represents.
Ken Hoagland is an author and long-time grassroots advocate who raised and delivered 2.2 million petitions to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth