Screw Obamacare, 'We the People' Want Everything Congress Has

Being an elected representative of the people is a sweet gig, chock full of cushy salaries, budgets, benefits and perks. Why would Americans bother with simply asking for a repeal of Obamacare when they could ask for so much more?

Here's what We the People should really demand: every perk and penny Congress enjoys courtesy of our hard-earned tax dollars --- and they enjoy a lot. Take a look at what our incompetent and insufficient congressmen and congresswomen get for doing the people's business:

Salary & Benefits

Annual Salary: $174,000

• Each Senator and Representative receives $174K per annum (the Speaker of the House gets $223,500, and the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate get $193,400).

• Permissible “outside earned income” for Representatives and Senators is limited to 15% of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule. According to the House Ethics Committee and Senate Ethics Committee, the 2016 limit is $27,495.

Tax Deduction Perk: $3,000

• Each Senator and Representative is allowed to deduct living expenses up to $3,000 per annum, while away from their congressional districts or home states.

Healthcare: $10,000

• For decades, congressional members had access to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Started in 1959, a few years before Medicare, it was meant to cover some nine million government employees --- civil-service workers, the courts, the Post Office, members of Congress, and more. It wasn’t a single plan but, rather, as a Times story put it, “a supermarket offering 300 private health plans.” Heritage Foundation called it “a showcase of consumer choice and free-market competition.”

• Since 2014, lawmakers and staffers, except in a handful of cases, purchased health insurance through the D.C.'s “SHOP” exchange. They do this with an employer-based subsidy from the federal government, which some lawmakers have denounced as an “exemption” for Congress under the law.

• Under Obamacare, a middle-aged member of Congress who earns an annual salary of $174,000 from the taxpayers, and who has a wife and children, will get a $10,000 subsidy from the taxpayers (over and above his $174,000 salary) to buy a health insurance plan that a regular citizen making almost $80,000 less than the congressman will not get.

Short Work Week: Up to 239 Days Off

According to the congressional calendar released in late 2012, there were 126 congressional sessions on the docket without a single five-day work week, leaving members of Congress with 239 days to work outside of Congress. Sometimes this means working within their home state, and in other cases it can mean a vacation.

Budget & Office Space (Senate)

Personnel and Office Expense Account: $3,043,454 to $4,815,203

• The Senators’ Official Personnel and Office Expense Account (SOPOEA) is available to assist Senators in their official and representational duties. The allowance is provided for the fiscal year. The preliminary list of SOPOEA levels contained in the Senate report accompanying the FY2017 legislative branch appropriations bill shows an average allowance of $3,306,570 per senator.

Staff Salaries: $169,459 to $171,315

• The maximum annual salary for committee employees, as continued since the 2009 pay order, is $171,315. The salary of an employee in a senator’s office may not exceed an annual rate of $169,459.

Physical Office Space: 5,000 to 8,200 square feet

• Each senator is authorized home state office space in federal buildings. In the event suitable office space is not available in a federal building, other office space may be secured. The cost of private space is not to exceed the highest rate per square foot charged by the General Services Administration. The aggregate square footage of office space that can be secured for a senator ranges from 5,000 square feet, if the population of the state is less than 3 million, to 8,200 square feet, if the state’s population is 17 million or more.

Furniture Budget: Starting at $40,000

• Each senator is authorized $40,000 for state office furniture and furnishings for one or more offices, if the aggregate square footage of office space does not exceed 5,000 square feet. The base authorization is increased by $1,000 for each authorized additional incremental increase in office space of 200 square feet.

Budget & Office Space (House of Representatives)

Personnel and Office Expense Account: $1,200,000

• Members of the House receive a $250,000 budget for travel and office expenses.

Staff Salaries: $168,411 to $172,500

• Members of the House receive a $900,000 annual allowance for a staff.

• The maximum annual salary for employees of committees, as revised in the 2009 pay order, is $172,500 for up to three staff members (two majority and one minority); $170,696 for up to nine staff members (six majority and three minority); and a maximum of $168,411 for other staff. The salary of an employee in a member office may not exceed an annual rate of $168,411.

Other Perks

Members of Congress have long been treated as a special class with lifelong access to members-only parking spaces, elevators, dining rooms and exercise facilities (unless they become a lobbyist).

Grooming and Fitness Amenities

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only gym

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only tennis court

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only salon

• Taxpayer-funded, members-only barbershop

Airline Privileges

• Staff schedulers often times make reservations for members of Congress via dedicated phone lines that Delta and other major airlines have reportedly set up for Capitol Hill customers. Airlines also permit members to reserve seats on multiple flights but only pay for the trips they take. “We get on every single flight,” one congressional aide familiar with the process told Roll Call last month.

• Free parking at the two Washington-area airports (At a rate of $22 per day, that represents almost $740,000 in forgone revenue annually for Reagan National).

Retirement and Investment Benefits

• According to figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average Social Security recipient is going to net $15,000 a year in benefits while a public workers' pension will average around $26,000. By contrast, a retired member of Congress who's served 20 years will average $59,000 annually in pension benefits. In addition, Congress members (actually all federal workers) have access to the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401(k)-like investment vehicle with fees of just 0.03%. To put that into context, Bankrate notes that this means just $0.27 in fees for every $1,000 for the Thrift Savings Plan, compared with the average 401(k), which charges around $5 in fees for every $1,000. Over a lifetime, that can mean thousands less in fees for congressional employees compared to public- and private-sector workers.

• Despite passing the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, perhaps known better as the STOCK Act in 2012, Congress gutted the primary disclosure component. While still making it difficult to make trades on inside information, this means they don't have to publicly disclose their trades and potential insider knowledge. It's laudable they passed the restrictions, but it's hard keep them honest if it's difficult to access the information.

Death Benefits

• Family members of those in Congress who die typically receive a full year’s salary as compensation ($174,000). By comparison, the families of members of the armed forces killed on the battlefield in Iraq or Afghanistan are only entitled to $100,000 for their loss.

Sources:

Congressional Research Service

The Center for Public Integrity

The Motley Fool

The New Yorker

OPM.gov

The Washington Post

CNS News

Shortly after appearing on "The Glenn Beck Radio Program" last Thursday, Los Angeles-based emergency medicine specialist Dr. Simone Gold got a call saying she was fired for speaking out about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in a now-banned viral video.

Dr. Gold returned to the radio program Monday to detail exactly what happened, the reason the hospitals gave for her firing, and how they threatened to fire her colleagues as well if she "didn't go quietly."

"Most emergency physicians work at more than one [hospital], as I do, and I've actually been fired from both," she told Glenn. "They told me that I appeared in an embarrassing video, and therefore, I would no longer be welcome to work there ... then they said, if I didn't go quietly and I made a fuss, they would have all the doctors in the group, you know, they'd have to go and they'll get a whole new doctor group."

Dr. Gold said she does not regret speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during the controversial "White Coat Summit" news conference held in Washington, D.C., last week. A video of the news conference quickly went viral on social media before being removed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others for allegedly making false claims related to COVID-19.

"Bring it on," she said. "I want to continue to live in America. I want my children to continue to live in America. I don't want them to grow up in a place like China. When you get to a point where, not only can I not speak as a scientist, as a doctor, for what I know to be absolutely true, but you then want to cancel me and my colleagues, this is not okay. I would much rather fight than not fight ... and I want everybody to know that there are literally millions and millions of Americans who are on our side. Millions. I believe it's the majority."

Glenn then asked Dr. Gold to weigh in on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines encouraging schools to reopen in the fall and the left's relentless drive to keep them closed.

"There's no actual scientific debate whatsoever if schools should open. None. There's no scientific debate. There's no serious person who thinks schools shouldn't open. Now, [through] some governors and policy makers, there's pressure being brought to bear on school districts, but there's no actual scientific debate. So it's going to come down to parents pressuring their local school districts to act in a responsible fashion."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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Fox News host Greg Gutfeld joined Glenn on "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to talk about his new book, "The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help."

Greg admits he is probably the last person who should write a self-help book. Nevertheless, he offers his offbeat advice on how to save America during what has become one of the most tumultuous times in history, as well as drinking while tweeting (spoiler: don't do it).

He also shares his "evolution" on President Donald Trump, his prediction for the election, and what it means to be an agnostic-atheist.

In this clip, Greg shares what he calls his "first great epiphany" on how dangerous cancel culture has become.

"I believe that cancel culture is the first successful work-around of the First Amendment," he said. "Because freedom of speech doesn't protect me from my career being ruined, my livelihood being destroyed, or me getting so depressed I commit suicide. Cancel culture is the first successful work-around of freedom of speech. It can oppress your speech with the scepter of destruction. We don't have freedom of speech anymore."

Watch the video clip below or find the full Glenn Beck Podcast with Greg Gutfeld here.

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Dr. Simone Gold joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to set the record straight about hydroxychloroquine -- what it is, how it works, and the real reason for all the current controversy surrounding a centuries-old medication.

Dr. Gold is a board certified emergency physician. She graduated from Chicago Medical School before attending Stanford University Law School. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and worked in Washington D.C. for the Surgeon General, as well for the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. She works as an emergency physician on the front lines, whether or not there is a pandemic, and her clinical work serves all Americans from urban inner city to suburban and the Native American population. Her legal practice focuses on policy issues relating to law and medicine.

She is also the founder of America's frontline doctors, a group of doctors who have been under attack this week for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during a news conference held outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

On the program, Dr. Gold emphasized that the controversy over hydroxychloroquine is a "complete myth."

"Hydroxychloroquine is an analogue or a derivative of quinine, which is found in tree bark. It's the most noncontroversial of medications that there is," she explained.

"It's been around for centuries and it's been FDA-approved in the modern version, called hydroxychloroquine, for 65 years. In all of that time, [doctors] used it for breast-feeding women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and immune compromised. The typical use is for years or even decades because we give it mostly to RA, rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients who need to be on it, essentially, all of their life. So, we have extensive experience with it ... it's one of the most commonly used medications throughout the world."

Dr. Gold told Glenn she was surprised when the media suddenly "vomited all over hydroxychloroquine", but initially chalked it up to the left's predictable hatred for anything President Donald Trump endorses. However, when the media gave the drug Remdesivir glowing reviews, despite disappointing clinical trial results, she decided to do some research.

"[Remdesivir] certainly wasn't a fabulous drug, but the media coverage was all about how fabulous it was. At that moment, I thought that was really weird. Because it's one thing to hate hydroxychloroquine because the president [endorsed] it. But it's another thing to give a free pass to another medicine that doesn't seem that great. I thought that was really weird, so I started looking into it. And let me tell you, what I discovered was absolutely shocking," she said.

Watch the video below for more details:


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According to the mainstream media's COVID-19 narrative, the president is "ignoring" the crisis.

On tonight's "Glenn TV" special, Glenn Beck exposes the media's last four months of political theater that has helped shape America's confusion and fear over coronavirus. And now, with a new school year looming on the horizon, the ongoing hysteria has enormous ramifications for our children, but the media is working overtime to paint the Trump administration as anti-science Neanderthals who want to send children and teachers off to die by reopening schools.

Glenn fights back with the facts and interviews the medical doctor Big Tech fears the most. Dr. Simone Gold, founder of America's Frontline Doctors, stands up to the media's smear campaign and explains why she could no longer stay silent in her fight against coronavirus fear.

Watch a preview below:


In order to watch tonight's episode, you must be a BlazeTV subscriber. Join today to get a 30-day free trial, and get $20 off a one-year subscription with code UNMASKED.

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