Newsletter - August 2017

Many voters cheered when Donald Trump said he was running for President in order to Drain the Swamp.  We all know that the politics, bureaucracy and influence pedaling are rampant in Washington.  What many of us may not have realized is just how much all of this “stuff” going on in our nation’s capital affects our daily lives.

The swamp in Washington includes thousands of federal workers who may or may not have as their prime goal the success of the United States.  It includes elected and appointed officials who often are looking out for themselves instead of the people of the country.  It certainly includes people with one political viewpoint who will do everything possible to further that viewpoint.  If other people are destroyed in the process, that is just too bad.

Another way the swamp is so insidious is the numerous regulations passed in all the different agencies.  These are not passed by elected officials in Congress.  They are often done at the behest of whatever administration is in power.

This past week we had an example of the swamp.  After Republicans had stated for seven years that they wanted to repeal and replace ObamaCare, the Senate could not deliver. The House passed a bill in May.  The Senate had all kinds of reasons why it didn’t happen.  Now, if President Trump wants to really drain the swamp here is a way to do it.

Mentioned above is the statement that officials are often looking out for themselves.  Here is a prime example.

President Obama gave members of Congress and their staff exemptions that made them the only participants in the ObamaCare exchanges to receive generous subsidies from their employer who happens to be the American taxpayer. 

In 2009, when ObamaCare was being debated, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) got a provision inserted into the bill that required all members of Congress and their staff to get their health insurance through the ObamaCare health exchanges.

Senator Grassley felt that “the more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better.”

The amendment was finally watered down to exclude committee staff, but it still applied to members of Congress and their personal staffs.  Many employment lawyers interpreted that to mean that the taxpayer-funded federal health insurance subsidies paid to members of Congress and their personal staffs would have to end.  Those subsidies range from $6,000 to $12,000 a year and cover about 70% of the cost of insurance premiums.

This was not going to go over with the folks in D.C.  Pressure was put on the White House from Republicans and Democrats and so President Obama ordered the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law as to retain the generous congressional benefits. 

Senator Grassley’s amendment and its intent basically went out the window.

Apparently, President Trump can instruct the Office of Personnel Management to end the exemption and subsidies for Congress.  The Independent Women’s Voice conducted a poll and found that 94% of voters think that Congress shouldn’t be exempted from the insurance provisions of ObamaCare. 

Of course, if President Trump did end the exemption, members of Congress would be infuriated.  However, it is a good bet that ObamaCare would be fixed with all parties participating in the solution.

There are two things that would be a big step in draining the swamp: Term Limits and the absolute requirement that Congress live by the laws it passes for the country.

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