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SavyLawyer, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed to practice law, I have experience in dealing with a wide variety of legal issues.
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Why are Congressmen and Senators exempt from the laws they

Resolved Question:

Why are Congressmen and Senators exempt from the laws they enact?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  SavyLawyer replied 7 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for contacting the just answer team.

Can you be little more specific? Which laws are we talking about? While Congress is indeed exempt from some laws, they are not exempt from others (such as most criminal codes).

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
For example the proposed Health care bill and other such legislation. I understand they are not exempt from criminal laws.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Status of answer?
Expert:  SavyLawyer replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for specifying.

First, I will say that as a general matter, Congress has the authority to exempt its own members, or the Federal Government generally, from the laws it passes (many workplace laws do not apply to the Federal Government). Unless there is a specific provision in the constitution that prevents them from exempting themselves as a body from the laws they pass, they are generally free to do so.

Having said that, Congress has not, at least in the legislation currently being considered by both chambers of Congress, exempted themselves from the Bill. Each bill passed by each chamber (remember there are two different bills, neither of which have become law) treats members of Congress the same as any other member of the general public.

Health care legislation under consideration in Congress leaves in place employer-provided health insurance for the vast majority of Americans. But people who work for small businesses that do not provide coverage, are self-employed or currently uninsured would be eligible for a separate system known as the health care exchange. Members of Congress would not be eligible for this exchange because they receive health care from their employer (the Federal Government), but neither would anyone else who already received health care from their employer. So, ultimately, Congress is treated, under the bills being considered now, the same as anyone else who receives health insurance from their employer.

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