Wyoming U.S. Sen. Enzi dismisses Liz Cheney demand on Obamacare subsidy

2013-08-14T20:30:00Z 2013-08-15T16:58:14Z Wyoming U.S. Sen. Enzi dismisses Liz Cheney demand on Obamacare subsidyBy KYLE ROERINK Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Liz Cheney on Wednesday asked Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi to reimburse the U.S. Treasury if he accepts federal subsidies as part of his congressional health care plan offered through an exchange, as set up under recent health care reforms sometimes called Obamacare.

In a Wednesday interview, Enzi answers Cheney’s request by saying he’s been trying to defund and dismantle Obamacare since 2009 and will continue to do so.

It was the second consecutive day Cheney used Obamacare as campaign fodder against her opponent and fellow Republican in the 2014 Senate race. Cheney spurred her series of attacks Tuesday after the White House’s Office of Personnel Management issued a proposed rule change that would allow members of Congress to receive contributions to help pay for insurance obtained through the new exchanges when the federal Affordable Care Act — now federal law — goes into effect next year.

Cheney took the issue one step further on Wednesday by urging Enzi to not accept a federal subsidy for insurance purchased through the exchange — essentially a marketplace for insurance plans — when it goes into effect Jan. 1. The proposal from the Office of Personnel Management will go into effect next month unless action by the Obama administration is taken to prevent it from becoming law.

The proposed rule change has Cheney, Enzi and some lawmakers across the country up in arms because it would void language in the Affordable Care Act that requires members of Congress and their staffers to have the same plans and see the same subsidies as the health care law offers to everyone else in the country. The proposed ruling allows the federal government to give lawmakers a subsidy that would provide a single member of Congress with $5,000 per year for insurance and $11,000 for those with families.

No one else in the nation would be entitled to the subsidy, which is why Cheney is calling it a form of “special treatment.”

Even though Cheney and Enzi are both opposed to the rule change, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is using the move as a way to highlight dysfunction in Congress. Cheney said the Obama administration’s proposed rule change was a behind-the-scenes deal with Congress. On Tuesday, her campaign released an online petition to demand that Enzi and Congress not receive special treatment in their health insurance plans.

“Yesterday, my opponent issued a statement claiming that he opposed this kind of special treatment,” Cheney said in a media release issued Wednesday. “Senator Enzi should walk the walk on this one. If he is opposed to this special deal, he should agree to return his taxpayer-funded ObamaCare subsidy money to the U.S. Treasury, and he should lead in convincing his senate colleagues to do so, too.”

Cheney and Enzi have been traveling Wyoming this week, meeting with constituents.

Cheney is in campaign mode, speaking at events, collecting contributions, sending out press releases and advertising in the state. Enzi is traveling from town to town for “listening sessions,” meetings he regularly schedules during congressional recess periods, where he lets constituents ask him questions and express their concerns for the country.

Despite the travel, the three-term senator has yet to kick his campaign into gear. He’s scheduled to speak to conservative donors and activists next month in New York, but he’s still without a campaign website, bumper stickers, advertisements and campaign staff. He said he has a full-time job representing Wyomingites in Washington and hasn’t announced when he will unveil a campaign team in the state.

“I have a lot of work to do in Washington,” he said at his Casper office on Wednesday.

Enzi said Cheney’s politicking this week is nothing more than an attempt to distort his record. Enzi said he would be glad to explain his more than 5,000 votes in Congress with anyone who has questions. He also raised concerns about Cheney’s lack of time in public office. She’s never been an elected official but served two stints in the State Department from 2002 to 2003 and 2005 to 2007.

“I’d be happy to look at all the votes Liz Cheney has made serving in a municipality, legislature and Congress,” Enzi said. “She can tell me whatever she wants about them.”

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. krallsa
    Report Abuse
    krallsa - August 17, 2013 9:09 am
    I wish she'd try to find enough of her own merits for running rather than be aggressive, negative and cranky from the get-go. She doesn't have what it takes to win a Wyoming constituency. Sure, she knows all about DC power-mongering, but how will that serve our state's needs?
  2. Jackson
    Report Abuse
    Jackson - August 15, 2013 5:04 pm
    I doubt many folks have a tough time recognizing the dumb, not just dirty, aspects of politics being pursued.
    However, I truly want to know if Enzi will walk the talk on this one. If he thinks it is wrong, and I think it is ethically wrong, will he still take a benefit that isn't available (or affordable) for all citizens?
    Our community has a number of elected and appointed officials who still harbor the notion that govt money is free money, and that we should shovel our share out of the hog trough before some other greedy entity uses it for a dumber project. I want to know if Enzi ranks any higher than these other folks mentioned, irrespective of discussion about Liz's improperly obtained and retained resident fishing license.
  3. wyo-first Amendment victim-gun rights
    Report Abuse
    wyo-first Amendment victim-gun rights - August 15, 2013 11:19 am
    The American fascism which Eisenhower warned in 1961 has come true:
    Military-Industrial-CONGRESSIONAL complex (Congress was in first draft of speech)
    Wyoming is fascist: With NRA, oil, gas and "company towns" all over the state.
    Liz Cheney is the sickest fascist in politics- short of Allen West of Florida.
    Google
    "Cheney, No thanks"
    and see my "Welcome to Wyoming, Princess" web page.
  4. EasyTurbo
    Report Abuse
    EasyTurbo - August 14, 2013 11:07 pm
    Ms. Cheney's only asking this of Mr. Enzi after she's asked the same of her dad, right?
  5. Jackalope
    Report Abuse
    Jackalope - August 14, 2013 9:59 pm
    Mikegage, if you would get into the context of this silly game to pit legislators against their staff, you might be just as unhappy, and just as vocal, but you would also be informed. If lying and hypocrisy are the best we can come up in a campaign, we absolutely deserve all the mess we have in D.C., this state, and this bulletin board. Surely, we can get to issues after we stipulate that all candidates are either hypocrits, liars, or both.
  6. MIkegage
    Report Abuse
    MIkegage - August 14, 2013 9:12 pm
    So ,,, Is he going to keep the money or not? He should show he's serious and return the money, and get his staff to return the money. If he's an honest guy and against Obamacare, he should lead by example, and if he has any influence at all, he should get the other Republicans to do so too.

    If he doesnt' return it, he is a HYPOCRIT.
  7. MIkegage
    Report Abuse
    MIkegage - August 14, 2013 9:07 pm
    What was Enzi's answer? I don't see where it says he will return the money. He can say whatever he wants, but if he doesn't return the money, his statements mean nothing. All this Obamacare stuff happened under his watch on his committee and he was in on the debates. The least he can do is lead the charge to return the money and show the hypocracy in Washington. If he has any pull up there at all, he should also get all other Republicans to return the money too.
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