BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. ANDREWS. Madam Speaker, if my amendment passes, we will proceed immediately to final passage of this bill. It doesn't delay or defer 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 2 days have been filled with sincere focus and passionate debate about the future of the Affordable Care Act. Members whom I respect and admire have taken strong positions saying 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 had 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 are female or because they are 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 that I'm offering, then we would, as Members of Congress, 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 a lifetime or annual policy limit,'' but Members of Congress will have that protection.
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, Republican, Democrat, say when we go home to our district.
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 that 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 exactly the same student loan rules everybody else does.
We have people ask us, you know, how come we don't follow the tax laws 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 preexisting conditions, but our constituents aren't. Members of Congress are permitted to have our sons and daughters on our policies until they're 26, but our constituents can't. Members of Congress can't be charged more for premiums because of their age or their gender, but our constituents can. Members of Congress under Medicare would get certain rights and privileges and 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 you're having to vote for today, then vote to live under it as well. Vote ``yes'' on this motion to recommit.
I yield back the balance of my time.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT