Washington, DC ’ Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) today introduced the No Exemption for Washington from ObamaCare Act. As the House companion bill to Sen. David Vitter–s (LA) legislation, the No Exemption for Washington from ObamaCare Act will require members of Congress and congressional staff to abide by the terms of ObamaCare and discontinues taxpayer subsidies that were engineered by an Obama administration rule but which are not authorized by the law.

“Congress needs to get right with the law.  When Americans struggle under the burdens of laws such as ObamaCare, they don't have the luxury of not complying," DeSantis said. “Congress must abide by the laws that they pass, and putting the political elite above both the law and their constituents is unacceptable. This is a simple issue of fairness: members of Congress, their staff, and the political elite should not be given special relief from the harmful effects of ObamaCare.”?

The No Exemption for Washington from ObamaCare Act is part of an ongoing effort by DeSantis to reform Washington and hold Congress accountable. DeSantis previously introduced the End Pensions in Congress (EPIC) Act.

Background:

  • ObamaCare terminated subsidies for health insurance for members of Congress, yet members are getting hefty subsidies.  ObamaCare unambiguously ended members of Congress' eligibility for the traditional health care benefits offered to federal employees and mandated that the only plan made available to members of Congress are Obamacare exchange plans. The $10k-plus subsidy conferred on members of Congress via executive action is not lawful and represents a usurpation of the power of the purse possessed by Congress.  This bill requires that the law be enforced as written.
  • The Obama administration's rule insulates members of Congress from managing the financial pressures imposed by ObamaCare.  While there is no statutory subsidy available for congressional staff members under ObamaCare, members of Congress have the ability to raise staff salaries to make up for the lost compensation.  This requires members of Congress to prioritize resources just like a business must do when negatively affected by government mandates.  This bill places Congress in the same boat as businesses by requiring members to navigate the consequences of the law as written.
  • Members of Congress cannot exempt official staff from the operation of the law.  ObamaCare clearly states that all staff working in "the official office of a member of Congress" are required to obtain insurance on an ObamaCare exchange, yet the Obama administration's rule purports to liberate members from following the law.  As it stands now, members of Congress can submit a form declaring that the staff members working in their personal offices are not "official staff" and are therefore exempt from ObamaCare.  This is flatly contrary to law.  This bill does not allow members of Congress to exempt congressional staff from ObamaCare and requires the law to be enforced as written.
  • Congress is not a small business under the law. Allowing members of Congress, congressional staffers, and their spouses and dependents to purchase health insurance through D.C.–s Small Business Exchange oversteps and ignores the clear language of the law. Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a D.C. taxpayer against the D.C. Health Exchange Authority.  In court filings, the D.C. government conceded that, under D.C. law, the U.S. Congress is not permitted to obtain insurance through the District–s Small Business Exchange. This bill would reinforce the contention brought by Judicial Watch that this is an inappropriate use of the D.C. Small Business Exchange.