As the debate rages on over whether or not Congress should continue its attempt to defund Obamacare, Politico has released leaked emails that indicate Speaker of the House John Boehner’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staffs worked secretly to continue federal subsidies for members of Congress.
The emails first released by Politico, indicate that over a five month period, Boehner’s and Reid’s staffs worked together to create a legislative “fix” for the issue of whether Congressional members and their staffers could continue to receive between $5,000 and $12,000 a year in employer contributions from the Federal Government.
“As part of the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers and aides are required to join insurance exchanges that begin operating on Tuesday, the same day the government shut down.”
At its core, the issue surrounds the Office of Personnel Management and its decision that lawmakers and staff members could not receive those employer contribution subsides any longer once they were enrolled into healthcare exchanges. After pressure from Congress, top White House aides and even the President himself, the OPM reversed its position and issued a regulation saying that the subsidies would continue after October 1st.
So how is this newsworthy? Because during the debate over the government shutdown, Speaker Boehner included a measure that would end those very same subsidies. Subsidies that, again according to the leaked emails, the Speaker of the House fought secretly for.
Among the multiple attempts to create a fix for these subsidies, the emails indicate that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid attempted to get a private meeting with President Obama to appeal for his help. Whats more, the emails between Speaker Boehner’s chief of staff Mike Sommers and Majority Leader Reid’s top aide David Krone agree that the reason for meeting with President Obama must remain secret.
“We can’t let it get out there that this is for [Boehner] and [Reid] to ask the President to carve us out of the requirement of Obamacare,” Sommers told David Krone, Reid’s top aide in a July 17 e-mail obtained by POLITICO.
That email conversation between Krone and Sommers goes on to claim that the cover story for the meeting with the President could be floated as “next steps on immigration” to which Sommers reportedly says, he isn’t concerned about the cover story so long as the real reason for the meeting remains a secret.
By the way, the meeting with President Obama never materialized. Neither did the legislative “fix” for the subsidies, which Boehner himself reportedly suggested. That suggestion included just hiding the language into another bill.
“‘When I was in the state legislature, we used to stick things in [bills] and no one would notice,’ Boehner said during a private meeting with Reid in July to discuss this issue, the sources said.”
What this story goes to demonstrate is the harsh reality of the false left/right paradigm in Washington. The reality of what is happening in our nation’s capital is so much political theater, so little attempt at actually representing the public.