From withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord to his administration's Environmental Protection Agency…
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Image of the Day: Trump Destroying the Planet, Cont'd

From withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord to his administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is obviously destroying the planet:

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July 18, 2018 • 02:19 pm

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President Trump Should Rescind Congressional ObamaCare Immunity Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 03 2017
Perhaps the only way to motivate Congress to correct its ObamaCare mistake before even more damage is inflicted upon the American healthcare sector is to force members and staffers to experience the same law that they insist on imposing upon other citizens.

By now it's apparent that majorities in Congress consider ObamaCare too precious to repeal and replace. 

So why does Congress itself remain immune from the law it passed under ignominious circumstances, and insists on sustaining? 

If Congress demands that other Americans endure ObamaCare and its provisions, under what concept of fairness can it conspicuously receive a "get out of jail free" exemption for its own members and employees? 

The story behind the exemption offers a classic tale of Washington, D.C., duplicity, and its outrageousness speaks not only to the sheer cynicism that continues to pervade American political culture, but also the fundamental deficiency of ObamaCare itself. 

Prior to ObamaCare, Congress and its employees enjoyed Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage, which covers eight million other federal government employees and retirees.  Among the notable benefits of that coverage, the government contributed taxpayer dollars to subsidize up to 75% of their costs. 

That all changed in 2009. 

During Congressional debate over ObamaCare, Senator Charles Grassley (R - Iowa) deftly introduced an amendment requiring that Congress and its employees be subject to the same healthcare law that it was about to impose on the rest of America.  Notably, his proposal passed the Senate Finance Committee by unanimous vote. 

Accordingly, the ObamaCare law scheduled to take effect in 2014 required Congress and its staffers to submit to ObamaCare coverage. 

That's when the shenanigans began. 

Because the ObamaCare exchanges were created for Americans who didn't receive insurance from their employers or government programs, participants in the exchanges didn't receive employer subsidies.  In other words, members of Congress and their staffers suddenly faced the prospect of higher premiums. 

It's almost like they should've thought of that when passing ObamaCare for everyone else. 

Regardless, panic ensued as ObamaCare's effective date approached, and members feared an exodus of employees facing healthcare price hikes. 

So the Obama Administration predictably intervened to spare Congress from its own malfeasance.  In 2013, Obama's Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a ruling redefining Congress as a "small business" with fewer than 50 employees.  That allowed members and staffers to obtain insurance through the District of Columbia's small business exchange, which in turn allowed them to receive continuing government subsidy of their insurance costs. 

Nice work if you're lucky enough to get it. 

Not that every member condones this state of affairs or wishes to perpetuate it.  Senator Ron Johnson (R - Wisconsin) proposed to end the subsidies and return staffers to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program coverage.   Members of Congress earn $174,000 annually, in addition to whatever outside income they receive, so they can scarcely claim hardship.  Nevertheless, that proposal unsurprisingly failed. 

Fortunately, an act of Congress isn't required to correct the situation. 

Because the Obama Administration OPM granted the special exemption through "pen and phone" administrative fiat, the Trump Administration can similarly rescind it through executive action.  And at least according to President Trump's recent tweets, he's prepared to do just that.  "If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly," he tweeted, "BAILOUTS for insurance companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" 

For good measure, Trump later added, "If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn't it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what the public pays?" 

Good questions. 

Perhaps the only way to motivate Congress to correct its ObamaCare mistake before even more damage is inflicted upon the American healthcare sector is to force members and staffers to experience the same law that they insist on imposing upon other citizens. 

Otherwise, allowing Congress and their privileged employees to avoid a system that they foisted on the rest of America will deprive them of the incentive to make good on their promises to repeal and replace it.  If they won't act on behalf of their constituents' well-being, perhaps they'll at least act to preserve their own. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was deforested during the Civil War to make it virtually impassable by the Confederate army?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Former FBI Director James Comey tweeted late Tuesday night that 'all who believe in this country's values must vote for Democrats this fall.'Comey blamed the Republicans in Congress for proving 'incapable of fulfilling the Founders' design that 'Ambition must ... counteract ambition.''Policy differences don't matter right now. History has its eyes on us,' Comey added. ...Trump fired Comey in May…[more]
 
 
—Conor Beck, The Washington Free Beacon
— Conor Beck, The Washington Free Beacon
 
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