RUSH: Sherry in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, great to have you on the program just outside Pittsburgh here. Hello.
CALLER: Yeah, hi, Rush. Yeah, I’m right outside Pittsburgh, and I’m near a district where one of the fence sitters for the health care bill, Jason Altmire, is.
RUSH: Yeah, I saw him on television. He sounds like he’s pretty dead-set against this thing.
CALLER: Oh, I hope so. I used to live in his district in the eighties but I live on the other side of Pittsburgh now, but I’d just like to give them a little friendly reminder all these fence sitters who might be considering taking one for the team or sacrificing for Obama or whatever. If they go ahead and pass this Obamacare and they get kicked out of office, because they will be kicked out of office if they do it, they are no longer going to be exempt from what they’re foisting on us. They’re going to have to live under this Obamacare. They’re not going to be exempted like they’re doing to themselves, which is the thing that really irks me the most about this whole thing is that they exempt themselves from what they’re foisting on us.
RUSH: Well, why do you think they’re not going to exempt themselves from it if it passes? They clearly have exempted themselves from it.
CALLER: But I’m saying: If they get kicked out of office they’re going to have to go back and live with this. They’re going to be back with us real people.
CALLER: Once they get kicked off office they’re going to have to live with it.
CALLER: In other words, be careful what you wish for.
RUSH: Well, I’m going to double check that. They have one of the most generous pensions and going away packages even if people lose.
RUSH: I don’t know how long Altmire has been serving.
CALLER: But even for health care? Even if they’re not working there?
RUSH: Come on. Come on. These people —
RUSH: (laughing) Are you…? Even for health care?
CALLER: Let me say something, too, about this (garbled).
RUSH: These people have written rules that they can take with them $13 million or whatever is left in their campaign chest that hasn’t been spent.
CALLER: Oh, you’re right. That’s probably true. Now you’re really frustrating me.
RUSH: No, I don’t mean to frustrate you.
RUSH: You gotta know who we’re dealing with here.
CALLER: Well, I know.
RUSH: I’ll tell you something else. I saw Altmire. I saw him on television yesterday afternoon and he’s dead set against the Slaughter Rule. I don’t know where he comes down to the Senate bill, but he is one of these fence sitters. One thing I gotta tell you this about the fence sitters, these undecided guys. It’s not universally true but it’s very likely in some of their cases that they are already a ‘no’ vote they just don’t want to tell you because so they don’t want the wrath so they’re saying, ‘I’m undecided. Give me some space. I’m still thinking about it. Move on to somebody else.’
RUSH: A lot of people are using that as an excuse, but I still don’t think they’ve got the votes. I know they don’t have the votes. If they had the votes they’d be voting on it today.
CALLER: Okay. Well, thank you, Rush.
RUSH: All right. I appreciate that, Sherry. Now, I like this kind of thinking. ‘Okay, you guys, you give us this, you’re subject to it when you leave Congress,’ but I’m not an expert on this. This is something to look up. This is something to find out. My research staff (me) is looking into this. (laughing) No, we have somebody looking into it even as we speak. Somebody’s looking into it. We’ll find out what they get to take with them when they lose, if anything, you know, when their pension vests or their retirement or whatever. We know that it’s groovy. We know it’s big. We know it’s very comfortable and very rewarding.
RUSH: Well, all right, the initial research report is in here on congressional pensions and health care after they retire, quit, or are defeated, and as usual, anything dealing with the government is quite confusing. So I have two things here. One is from C-SPAN: ‘When are Members of Congress considered vested and eligible to receive a pension? And how much is that pension? Members who have participated in the congressional pension system are vested after 5 years of service. A full pension is available to Members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age. A reduced pension is available depending upon which of several different age/service options is chosen.
‘The average annuity for retired Members, as of 1998, was either $50,616 or $46,908.’ It depends on how they retired or were defeated. ‘However, these averages don’t take into account any additional funds these Members may have also accrued through investments in the Thrift Savings Plan.’ So essentially members of Congress receive retirement and health benefits under the same plans that are available to other federal employees, they become vested after five years of full service. If this guy Altmire has been in Congress five years and gets defeated, he’s vested, he gets his pension, the amount of his pension depending on what age he is when he gets out of there, and he gets his health benefits. So does Rostenkowski. They all do. Folks, there’s no way that any ex-member of Congress is not getting health care to this day, and won’t. My God, the way they take care of themselves in other ways, you think they would forget to bequeath themselves health care after they leave office?
RUSH: By the way, members of Congress keep their health care ’til they die when they lose their job.
RUSH: We had a caller who had a message for her congressman, Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania, who is undecided. He’s a Democrat. And she wanted to send a message to him: ‘Congressman, if you run for reelection and lose, you lose your job and you lose health care.’ Now, why did she think that? Because it happens to all the rest of us — except union people, and except to federal employees.
But if you lose your job, that’s a big deal. That’s why everybody talks about ‘portability.’ That’s why people talk about COBRA. If you lose your job, you lose your health care! Well, right here from the USgovinfo.about.com, the Federal Employee Health Benefits program: ‘Q: Can I continue my Federal Employees Health Benefit program into retirement? A: When you retire, you are eligible to continue health benefits coverage if you meet all the following requirements.’ You know, you gotta have five years service to be vested and so forth. ‘Q: Will my FEHB [Federal Employee Health Benefits] and premiums change when I retire?’ Answer: ‘No. You will be entitled to the same benefits and annual premiums as federal employees enrolled in the same plan.’ So they don’t lose it. Anybody with a brain would know that they would give themselves universal health care for the rest of their lives after they’ve served five years in Congress. This is true not just of members of Congress. This is true of federal employees. If these people quit, if they get fired, if they retire, they keep it, but not you in your job.