On Thursday, May 4, 2017 the House unanimously passed Rep. Martha McSally’s legislation to prevent members of Congress and their staff from being exempt from the State waiver provisions of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as amended by New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur.
“Any law we pass that applies to our constituents must apply equally to Members of Congress as well. Anything short of that is hypocrisy. Congress must abide by the laws it passes and should be treated no differently than other hardworking Americans,” said Rep. McSally. “My measure eliminates double standards by preventing Members of Congress from exempting themselves from American Health Care Act.”
Due to Senate procedural rules within the Budget Reconciliation process, the MacArthur amendment to the AHCA would exempt members of Congress and their staff. Because Republicans are seeking to pass the AHCA as a reconciliation bill, which would allow the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than a filibuster-proof 60 votes, the amendment stands.
Rep. McSally’s legislation, H.R. 2192, is a standalone two-page bill that would repeal this exemption for Members of Congress should the AHCA become law. The measure passed the House by a vote of 429-0.
So there are now two bills that the House sent to the Senate. The AHCA, for esoteric procedural reasons, would exempt members of Congress and their staffs from state waiver provisions. But then there’s McSally’s bill that would strike that exemption if the AHCA becomes law.
Finally, there is bipartisan agreement that a health care law should apply in the same way to members of Congress. Perhaps their motives were selfish, but it was a good move just the same. Since both these bills passed, the Senate has said they will write their own AHCA bill, so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are the only media sites I found to have carried this story. If it was carried by other media, then I missed it. For this not to be big-letter headlines at every site is a real shame, because Americans deserve to know the truth – all of it, be it bad or good.