Transcript: Rep. Rob Andrews proposes amendment to strip away lawmakers’ taxpayer-subsidized health care
Edited by Jenny Jiang
House floor remarks by Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) introducing an amendment to eliminate taxpayer-subsidized health care for lawmakers who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act on July 11, 2012:
“Madam Speaker, if my final amendment passes, we will proceed immediately to final passage of this bill. It doesn’t delay or confer consideration in any way.
“My amendment raises the following question: Should members of Congress live by the same laws we write for everyone else?
“I say we should.
“The last two days have been filled with sincere, focused, and passionate debate about the future of the Affordable Care Act.
“Members whom I respect and admire have taken strong positions saying that we should repeal the law. Members whom I respect and admire have taken strong positions saying we should uphold and enforce the law as I believe strongly.
“But whether you believe in the repeal of the law or the upholding of the law, you ought to believe in the basic principle that when we write a law around here, we should live by that law the same way everybody else does.
“So my final amendment says that supporters of repeal should live by the same consequences that everyone else will live by if they succeed in repealing the law.
“You see, because if my amendment does not pass and the bill passes, members of Congress will be protected if an insurance company tries to discriminate against us because we have breast cancer or asthma or diabetes but our constituents will not enjoy that protection.
“If my amendment does not pass but the underlying repeal bill does pass, members of Congress cannot be forced to pay higher premiums because they’re female or because they’re a certain age. But our constituents will not enjoy that protection.
“If the final bill passes without my amendment passing, we will be able to take our sons and daughters who are less than 26 years of age and keep them on our own policies but the people who pay our salaries – our constituents – will not have that protection.
“If the underlying repeal bill passes without the amendment I’m offering, then we would as members of Congress could [get] help paying high prescription drug bills under Medicare but our constituents under Medicare would not enjoy that same benefit.
“If my amendment does not pass and the underlying repeal bill passes, if God forbid, a member of our families is struck with a horrible disease or malignancy and runs up millions of dollars of bills, the insurance company will not be allowed to say, ‘Sorry, we’re going to stop paying your health care bills because you’ve run up against the lifetime or annual policy limit.’ But members of Congress will have that protection.
“And so, you see, I think this comes down to a basic point: If we write a law, we should live by it. This is something that I think most members – liberal, conservative, Republicans, Democrats – say when we go home to our districts.
“We, frankly, have all encountered constituents who wonder why we don’t pay into Social Security. The truth is we all do. We all do – just the way our constituents do.
“We run into constituents who say they don’t understand why our sons and daughters can pay off their student loans or get them forgiven for free when their kids can’t. That’s false. Our sons and daughters live under the exact same student loan rules everybody else does.
“We have people ask us, you know, how come we don’t follow the tax laws that everybody else does? We most certainly do.
“Republican, Democrat, liberal and conservative live by exactly the same laws that we write. I don’t think we should make an exception to that policy here.
“And if you don’t vote for this final underlying amendment – and I think we all should – if you don’t vote for this final underlying amendment, understand what happens:
“Members of Congress are protected against pre-existing conditions but our constituents aren’t.
“Members of Congress are permitted to have our sons or daughters on our policies until they’re 26 but our constituents can’t.
“Members of Congress can’t be charged more for their premiums because of their age or their gender but our constituents can.
“Members of Congress under Medicare would get certain rights and privileges in their prescription drugs but our seniors and constituents can’t.
“I think whether we agree or disagree with the Affordable Care Act, we all ought to agree with this principle: When Congress writes a law, we should all live by it.
“So I would respectfully say to my friends – both Republican and Democrat – if you believe in the law that you’re going to vote for today, then vote to live under it as well. Vote yes on this motion to re-commit.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Full text of Rep. Rob Andrews’ amendment to H.R. 6079 Repeal Obamacare Act of 2012
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Rep. Eric Cantor opposes Andrews’ amendment to eliminate lawmakers’ taxpayer-subsidized health care
- WhatTheFolly.com: House Republicans repeal health care law for the 33rd time
- Clerk.House.gov: Final vote results for Roll Call #459
- Thomas.LOC.gov: H.R. 6079 Repeal of Obamacare Act