A recent post on Congressional staff efforts to shield themselves from socialized medicine, generated a little more animus than I thought it would from colleagues on the Hill. Healthcare via exception, be it for labor unions or Congressional staff, is bad for the country.
Amigos and amigas, I have no solutions the many good questions you posed. Rather than privately e-mailing me, I wish you had posted them in the comments section, so that other readers could chime in. I received some public commentary that I wanted to share:
- One writer penned: “They learn to behave like this from the people they serve.”
- Another person wrote: “… if they want to remove the FEHBP subsidy for all of the over-one million federal employees and congressional committee staff, that’s a fine debate and vote to have …”.
- Here is an interesting idea from a former Hill rat: “last time I looked every single person working on the Hill, which is the moral equivalent of a southern plantation, is there out of personnel choice. Frankly, they are not federal employees working for the executive branch, they are personal staff advancing the political careers of their bosses. Few are there for the national commonweal but for a pedigree that they hope will garner big bucks on K street or in New York. Members should be getting per diem as they did historically, instead of inflated salaries, for days worked, which amount to three days a week in many cases. They should be required to pay staff out of pocket.”
- Finally, “Whether there are too many or whether they should have more limits on their employment after leaving the Hill are fine debates to have—I suspect that the answer to both could be “yes.” But for Vitter not to try to take away the FEHBP benefit for Committee staff and federal employees? It seems cheap.“
One of the best reforms of the GOP-led Contract with America in 1994 was to require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply to Congress. Unfortunately, Republicans and Democrats have been eroding that principal for some time. If you want to impose socialized medicine on the rest of the Nation, Members of Congress, staff, and legislative branch personnel should be on that same system as well.
U.S. Congressional staff are among the best paid legislative personnel in the entire world. This is not hyperbole. It is fact. Our legislative system is the envy of the free world, in part, because it seeks out the best and the brightest to staff it. That costs money. You should see the faces of foreign diplomats or personnel from foreign legislative bodies when first they learn of the average budget and staffing levels of Congressional offices. Want to keep it this way? Use your political energy to help your bosses repeal ObamaCare or defund it. Creating a carve out for yourselves is a waste of time.