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Fox News "America's Newsroom" - Transcript: Continuing Resolution to Defund Obamacare

Interview

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) spoke with Fox News' Bill Hemmer on America's Newsroom this morning. Ross is offering an amendment to the Continuing Resolution that will eliminate the Obamacare "fix" that the president asked OPM to give to Congress.

An excerpt is below:
Bill Hemmer: "Lay it out: what's your case?"

REP. ROSS: "The law under Obamacare says that Members of Congress and their staff will be subjected to the provisions of having to go into the exchanges. However, the law is totally silent on whether we receive a contribution from the federal government. Through the direction of this president and under the Office of Personnel Management, a ruling was made without a basis in law or fact that says that we will continue to receive our 72 percent contribution for our health care. Most Americans aren't going to receive that. We need to be subjected to the entire law the same way all Americans are, which means we're only entitled to the subsidies that are out there for the people who have incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level. And this will impact every Member of Congress, but it is the right thing to do. If we are going to let this law take effect October 1st, every Member of Congress needs to experience the pain that it is going to bring all Americans."

Bill Hemmer: "Here's the twist of logic that I don't get. I work for a public company, but they gave me the health insurance that the company has. I had no say in that. If I don't like it, I'll go work somewhere else, right? But you're a Member of Congress. And you have colleagues -- whether Republican or Democrat -- they crafted this law. They voted on this law. They signed the legislation into law that mandates everyone live by it. Now square the logic for that."

REP. ROSS: "I can't, because the law is silent as to whether we receive a contribution from the federal government. I will tell you this -- in the original Grassley Amendment that was offered, it did allow for the continued contribution by the federal government to our share of the health care exchange. But that was taken out and when it became law, it was silent. So if Congressional intent was to have it in there, why wasn't it in there? I suggest we should be under the same laws as the rest of the America."

View the full script:

Bill Hemmer: "Did you know Members of Congress, their top aides, and members of the administration will live under Obamacare, but they will be given subsidies to pay for it? But for millions of Americans, there is no subsidy and my next guest wants to change that. Dennis Ross, Florida Republican Congressman and a member of the Financial Services Committee. Good morning to you and welcome back to our program here.

REP. ROSS: "Thank you, Bill. Good morning."

Bill Hemmer: "Lay it out: what's your case?"

REP. ROSS: "The law under Obamacare says that Members of Congress and their staff will be subjected to the provisions of having to go into the exchanges. However, the law is totally silent on whether we receive a contribution from the federal government. Through the direction of this president and under the Office of Personnel Management, a ruling was made without a basis in law or fact that says that we will continue to receive our 72 percent contribution for our health care. Most Americans aren't going to receive that. We need to be subjected to the entire law the same way all Americans are, which means we're only entitled to the subsidies that are out there for the people who have incomes up to 400 percent of the poverty level. And this will impact every Member of Congress, but it is the right thing to do. If we are going to let this law take effect October 1st, every Member of Congress needs to experience the pain that it is going to bring all Americans."

Bill Hemmer: "I have a lot of questions. It would apply to the president, the vice president, political appointees, Members of Congress and their staff, right? All their staff members or just their leading staff?"

REP. ROSS: "Correct. All staff members in Congress - whether you're part of a committee or a leadership team or a Member's staff."

Bill Hemmer: "Okay, I imagine you get the votes in the House."

REP. ROSS: "I hope."

Bill Hemmer: "What happens in the Senate?"

REP. ROSS: "The Senate doesn't want this because they understand the impact this has on their wallets. But if we're going to sustain some economic harm to ourselves, we need to realize that this is what the rest of America is also feeling when Obamacare takes effect. The best thing we can do, other than show how bad this law is, is if the Members of Congress don't want to do this, then let's delay it at least for a year."

Bill Hemmer: "Okay, you said you "hope' you get the votes in the House. Is that not a done deal?"

REP. ROSS: "It's not a done deal at this time. I have a great deal of respect for my Members. All of us came here voluntarily -- nobody conscripted us -- we all chose to be Members of Congress. But I think we also have to make the right decision for the American public to see why we will subject ourselves 100 percent to the law under Obamacare."

Bill Hemmer: "So you're saying that your Republican colleagues are going to take the subsidy?"

REP. ROSS: "I'm saying that many of them don't want to not have that contribution. Look -- I want the contribution, but there's no basis in law or fact for me to have that. I can't come back to my constituents and say, "It's okay, we've made an exception for us, but you guys don't worry, we'll try to do something.'"

Bill Hemmer: "I mean, why would the law be one thing for you, but not for the rest of us? That doesn't seem fair."

REP. ROSS: "I couldn't agree more, Bill. It's not fair -- and it shouldn't be. Which is why I believe we need to have this debate."

Bill Hemmer: "Now Mitch McConnell supports you. So you've got that vote in the Senate. What Democrats argue is that if they're working for a private company or somewhere in a public company, that they would be afforded the same benefit. Now what do you think of that argument?"

REP. ROSS: "Bill, that's a great argument, and if you want to work for GM and they want to give you a contribution to your health care, that's great. But if you're a Member of Congress, the only way you should get a contribution to your health care is if Congress votes it themselves. Otherwise, we should be under the laws same as the rest of Americans."

Bill Hemmer: "Here's the twist of logic that I don't get. I work for a public company, but they gave me the health insurance that the company has. I had no say in that. If I don't like it, I'll go work somewhere else, right? But you're a Member of Congress. And you have colleagues -- whether Republican or Democrat -- they crafted this law. They voted on this law. They signed the legislation into law that mandates everyone live by it. Now square the logic for that."

REP. ROSS: "I can't, because the law is silent as to whether we receive a contribution from the federal government. I will tell you this -- in the original Grassley Amendment that was offered, it did allow for the continued contribution by the federal government to our share of the health care exchange. But that was taken out and when it became law, it was silent. So if Congressional intent was to have it in there, why wasn't it in there? I suggest we should be under the same laws as the rest of the America."

Bill Hemmer: "A lot of people probably agree with you because they frankly don't see it as fair."


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