Taxpayers pay his salary? "Bullcrap" says Congressman
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by Causes | 4.17.17
Oklahoma Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin raised the ire of his constituents when he told them, "you said you pay for me to do this. Bullcrap, I pay for myself." After some in the lawmaker’s townhall meeting responded with exasperated cries, Mullin followed up by waving a finger at the crowd and declaring, “this is a service. No one here pays me to go.”
Have trouble catching his argument? That’s because, according to this Washington Post analysis, it’s not entirely true. In fact, the Post’s Fact Checker blog awarded Mullin’s statements a score of "Three Pinocchios" on its scale of zero-to-five. Here are the highlights.
A person at the townhall meeting asserted that constituents pay Mullin’s salary, he responded, "Bullcrap, I pay for myself."
"I am self-employed, I’ve been self-employed, and I pay more taxes inside my own company personally than I’ll ever receive from being in Congress."
To which The Washington Post responded,
"...unless he’s donating all $174,000 of his congressional salary, this argument doesn’t make much sense. And he has to earn a lot of outside income to personally pay that money back to the U.S. Treasury. In 2014, the House Ethics Committee found Mullin may have violated House ethics rules and federal laws by earning more than $600,000 in outside income. Yet his attorneys argued that the majority of that amount was through distributions from his family’s plumbing business in Oklahoma and that his earned income did not exceed the $26,955 limit on outside income."
Mullins went on to assert that as a member of Congress, he pays 100 percent of his own health insurance costs.
"I am self-employed, I’ve been self-employed, and I pay more taxes inside my own company personally than I’ll ever receive from being in Congress. I pay my own, and I pay my own insurance. … So don’t mislead and think that you’re paying mine. I do. Also, every member of Congress, they pay for their own insurance, too. We are put into the exchange. We’re not a federal employee. We go into the D.C. exchange and we personally have to pay for 100 percent of it. Not a percentage, all of it."
That is not entirely true either, according to The Post:
The ACA requires members of Congress and many congressional staffers to leave the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and join the health-care exchanges in the District. Through the federal plan, lawmakers and their staff members had about 70 percent of their insurance premiums covered by the federal government.
When enrollment for Obamacare began, some members decided to go on their spouses’ insurance plans or buy their own in the private market. In December 2013, The Washington Post compiled a list of members of Congress who signed up for Obamacare. The list shows that Mullin bought insurance from the private market and allowed his staff to get insurance from the D.C. exchange.
At the town hall, Mullin repeatedly said that he pays for his own insurance. That may be a reference to his insurance from the private market. But it’s not accurate that members and staff members "go into the D.C. exchange and we personally have to pay for 100 percent of it. Not a percentage, all of it." And it’s misleading to say that “every member of Congress, they pay for their own insurance, too” — since they can receive a taxpayer-provided subsidy for insurance from the exchanges.
What do you think of Congressman Mullin’s town hall claims? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!
— Asha Sanaker
(Photo Credit: *U.S. Congress via Wikimedia / Creative Commons)
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