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Sen. Rand Paul (R., KY) has introduced a constitutional amendment mandating that, when Congress passes a law, the law must apply to Congress itself, to the executive branch, and to the Supreme Court, without any exceptions. We can only applaud him for this idea.
One of the most revolting things about Obamacare is that Congress buffered its own employees from the acts terrible economic effects, while excluding lawmakers, the executive branch, and the Supreme Court entirely. In the real world, people are getting horrific sticker shock as their rates go up by as much as 100% (and that’s not even counting the dramatically increased deductibles). In the D.C. bubble, they are economically unaffected by what’s happening.
As matters now stand, lower earning people might qualify for an Obamacare subsidy, but the subsidy is a moving target. The one thing people are starting to realize is that, in the new world of Obamacare, it’s very expensive to work too much. If you’re just one dollar over the subsidy line, you may end up paying an extra $10,000 a year for your high-deductible Obamacare. Congress, of course, didn’t want its staffers to work less, so it voted them an automatic subsidy, insulating them completely from the dramatic cost increases Obamacare creates.
Additionally, neither members of Congress, nor the Supreme Court, not the President, Vice President, or Cabinet members are affected by Obamacare. In other words, it’s just another law Congress forces on you, but doesn’t impose upon itself.
Currently, the only attack on this disgusting situation is something called the “Vitter amendment,” which Sen. David Vitter (R. La.) has introduced. That Vitter amendment would remove the automatic subsidies handed out to Congressional staffers and require the President, the Vice-President, and the Cabinet to enroll themselves and their families into Obamacare. Obama has promised to veto this legislation.
Paul’s newly proposed constitutional amendment would go far beyond forcing Congress, the Supreme Court, and the executive branch to suffer Obamacare in the same way as everyone else. His proposal states that “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress,” as well as to the Supreme Court and the executive branch.
It’s unlikely that the proposed Amendment will make any headway in Congress, since most Congress people – especially the establishment ones who have been there for decades — like the fact that they’re not bound by many of the onerous laws they impose on Americans. However, the Founders understood that Congress may have a vested interest in opposing amendments that limit its power. For that reason, they also authorized amendments coming from the people.
Under Article V of the Constitution, an amendment may be officially proposed if two-thirds of the states (that would be 34 states) request a national convention. If that convention takes place, the amendment can be ratified if three-fourths of the states (i.e., 38 states) have conventions that ratify the proposed amendment.
As you can see, that’s a very high stand, but in light of American’s deep and abiding disrespect for Congress, it’s certainly not an impossible one to meet. It’s hard to imagine any Americans who think that Congress should get a free pass on the heavy burdens it routinely imposes on ordinary Americans.