Politico reports that lawmakers are looking at ways to exempt themselves and their staff members from Obamacare’s mandates. Of course, the report may be untrue, or the negotiations may come to nothing. But it would hardly be the first such case: Congress has exempted itself from all sorts of laws–notwithstanding its 1995 promise to stop this abuse. Congress doesn’t just immunize itself from the law, it also often ignores the laws it finds inconvenient.
In Federalist 57, James Madison wrote,
I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together…. If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America — a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it. If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.