Wednesday, October 02, 2013

John Boehner Pulls a John Kerry on Congressional Health Subsidies

"I was actually for Congress getting bailed out of Obamacare before I was against it."  That seems to be the view of John Boehner, at least according to emails leaked by Harry Reid's staffers.

Leaked emails between Harry Reid's office and John Boehner's show that the Speaker of the House appears to be flip flopping all over the place when it comes to whether or not Congress and staff should get subsidies to help pay for their health coverage under Obamacare.  The Speaker has been the target of conservatives for a while now, and this will not help his case with the Right of Center.  From the Politico:

With the federal government nearing shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner stood on the House floor Monday and called on his colleagues to vote for a bill banning a “so-called exemption” that lawmakers and staffers receive for their health insurance.
“Why don’t we make sure that every American is treated just like we are?” Boehner asked, seeking to prohibit members of Congress and Capitol Hill aides from getting thousands of dollars in subsidies for their health insurance as they join Obamacare-mandated insurance exchanges.
Yet behind-the-scenes, Boehner and his aides worked for months with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and others, to save these very same, long-standing subsidies, according to documents and e-mails provided to POLITICO. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was also aware of these discussions, the documents show.
So, Mitch McConnell was in on it, too, eh?  This is no surprise to anyone who has followed the career of the spineless McConnell, who claimed to want to remove Obamacare "root and branch" in campaign commercials even while not supporting the efforts of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others to do just that. 

What is surprising is the sinister and even conspiratorial nature of the emails between Boehner's and Reid's offices:

Boehner’s aides vehemently deny that the speaker’s private efforts contradict his public statements on the issue. They insist Democrats were the ones who enacted Obamacare and it is up to them to address the problem. Boehner said the White House should correct the problem though through an administrative solution, stating that no bill to do so could pass Congress.
(WATCH: Rep. Larson's passionate floor speech)
“We always made it clear that the House would not pass any legislative ‘fix,’” said Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, on Monday night.
“As POLITICO has previously reported, Speaker Boehner was aware that Sen. Reid and the White House were discussing this issue. He was always clear, however, that any ‘fix’ would be a Democratic ‘fix.’ His ‘fix’ is repealing” Obamacare.
But according to several sources in attendance at a mid-July meeting with Reid, Boehner wondered aloud at one point whether he and the Nevada Democrat could quietly slip some language into a bill to end the problem without it receiving any public attention.

“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.
Boehner’s aides then told him this would not be possible, so the idea was dropped.
The speaker and his chief of staff, Mike Sommers — who was at that July 17 meeting as well — cannot “recall the Speaker making such a comment,” Boehner’s office said. 

And, even having faux immigration meetings to discuss getting congressional bailout on Obamacare:

In mid-July, as Boehner and Reid were trying to schedule a private meeting with Obama on the super-sensitive topic, the speaker’s top aide said it was okay to use a cover story to conceal the true nature of that prospective White House gathering.
“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.
“This is a little bit more difficult because it isn’t a routine meeting, as [Nancy] Pelosi and [Mitch] McConnell won’t be there. I am even ok if it is the President hauling us down to talk about the next steps on immigration.”
After Krone suggested that the White House press office might float that the Boehner-Reid-Obama meeting was on immigration, Sommers said he wasn’t concerned about what cover story was just as long as the real reason behind the meeting wasn’t disclosed.
“I really don’t care what is is about[,] it just can’t be about what we know it is about!” Sommers told Krone.
That meeting with Obama never took place.
Boehner and Reid’s offices also circulated some draft legislation to fix the problem, although none was ever introduced. They considered — briefly and “not seriously,” according to the speaker’s office — making all House staffers part of the “Committee of the Whole” in order to get around the insurance-exchange requirement. Committee staffers were not required to enroll in exchanges.
Boehner and Reid’s staffers also discussed “grandfathering” all members of Congress into the Federal Employee Benefit Health Plan, their current insurance program, so they didn’t have to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges. That idea was eventually dropped as well.
Boehner’s office said the leak of private e-mails to POLITICO shows how concerned Democrats are about the matter.

Boehner appears ready and able to screw his constituents and the American people if it benefits himself or wins favors, as this calls to mind the reports that he personally gave Obama advice on how to win Republicans over to the effort to bomb Syria back in September.

Boehner cannot be trusted to do what is right for Constitutional constructionists or conservatives.  Glenn Beck has demanded that Boehner resign from his Speakership, and I must say, the more I read about just how much Boehner wanted his own subsidy and really didn't seem too interested in killing Obamacare, the more I am inclined to agree.