38 Lawmakers Support Ron Johnson's Lawsuit Challenging OPM Rule
By Hadley Heath
At the beginning of 2014, Senator Ron Johnson filed a lawsuit challenging a rule from the Office of Budget and Management that gave Members of Congress and some Congressional staff special treatment under ObamaCare. This week, 38 lawmakers joined the lawsuit with him.
The special treatment lawmakers are getting is this: An amendment (added to the law by Senator Chuck Grassley) in the Affordable Care Act requires them to buy a health plan created by ObamaCare, but this would create a financial burden for Members and staff (much like the financial burden that so many other Americans are facing due to ObamaCare). So the administraiton worked out a way, through issuing a rule from OPM, that lawmakers and their staff could buy an ObamaCare exchange plan... but taxpayers would fund 75 percent of their premiums. This is a deal that no other workers in the U.S. can get.
The whole point of the Grassley Amendment was to expose Members of Congress to the consequences of the law they passed (and that everyone else must live under). The OPM rule attempts to shield lawmakers from the law's consequences. Sen. Johnson argues in his lawsuit that OPM doens't have the authority to issue such a rule, and that giving lawmakers like him special treatment actually harms him politically, by fueling animosity among his constituents.
This week 38 other Members of Congress (all Republicans) filed an amicus brief in support of Johnson's lawsuit. The lawsuit has been widely supported by "outside groups" or grassroots organizations that strive to keep Congress accountable.