Congressman Tom Cotton

Representing the 4th District of Arkansas
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A Few Facts About the James Madison Congressional Accountability Act

Sep 17, 2013
Cotton Blog
When Obamacare was passed it included an amendment requiring Members of Congress and their staffs to enter into the federal healthcare exchanges. The logic in that amendment was simple: if the law was good enough—actually, bad enough, but let’s leave that for now—for the American people, it should be good enough for those who voted for it.  
 
But in a blatant display of political favoritism—and direct contradiction with the law—the Obama administration recently announced that the federal government would offer subsidies to Members of Congress and their staffs to help offset the costs associated with entering these exchanges. That is why my colleague Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and I recently introduced the James Madison Congressional Accountability Act.  In the coming months, I will work tirelessly to ensure there are no special sweetheart deals for Washington politicians or their staff. 
 
 
  • The bill clarifies that members do not have the authority to define "official staff" and can thereby not exempt any of their staff from going into the exchange.
    • Under President Obama’s recent exemption discretion is given to individual offices to decide who qualifies as official staff that must enter into the exchanges. 
  • The bill requires all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare.
    • The President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration are not currently required to enter the federal exchanges.  
  • The bill also says that Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within their administration will receive the same amount of financial support from tax credits or subsidies as any American would outside of Washington.
  • The bill prohibits Members, political appointees, President and Vice President from receiving tax-payer funded contributions in the form of subsidies, tax credits, or employer contribution to purchase insurance on the exchange- as in most of these cases they earn well above the maximum income ($43,000 individual/$92,000 family) and would otherwise be ineligible for subsidies or tax credits as defined in the statute.
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