Chain email about congressmen and 28th ammendment.

My friend just sent me this email:

This reeks of chain-email falsity.

Is there any truth to these claims? Does it oversimplify/exaggerate in its claims?

For example, are congressmen really exempted from certain laws, and if so, is it because they are covered under different statutes or, as the email seems to suggest, just because the folks in congress just don’t want the law to apply to them?

I find it hard to believe a congressman can retire after one-term and still receive pay.

I’m not interested in whether such an amendment would pass. I’m more interested in the premises of the amendment.

Well, in order for the amendment to pass, 2/3rds of Congress would have to agree to it*. Good luck with that.

The Constitution itself exempts congresspeople from certain laws under certain circumstances (e.g., during debate).

*Yes, the state legislatures could also call for a constitutional convention, but that’s a very dangerous can of worms to open; it hasn’t happened, and there’s next to zero probability it will.

BS. From

There are many laws that do not apply to congressmen, some that do not apply to senators. Some of these exceptions are applicable only on the floor, some are perks granted to make life in DC simpler or more efficient, and some only look like exceptions because the mouthbreathers asserting the exception don’t know (or are hiding) the truth.

To wit: Congress has its own health plan. They’re covered, so no law is required to assure their participation in the health care economy.

Congress and Federal Employees used to be exempt from SS, (I think they had a seperate plan they paid into), but that changed in 1983, and they currently pay into the same fund everyone else does.

I can’t really think of any form of Healthcare reform that Congress Members would qualify for, so its pretty hard to see how they could be exempt from it. They make too much money to get subsidies and they’re provided with insurance as part of their jobs, so it’s not like the mandate affects them.

According to wikipeida, Congress members have to serve for 5 years to get a pension, so Housemembers would need more then one term (and be fairly old) to qualify, but a Senator could retire before serving a full term (though again, they’d need to be over 62).

Don’t know about the sexual harassement thing, but the rest appears to be BS.

Regarding sexual harassment, I think the Senate decided to extend employee protection laws to its employees in 1993 (although any complaints have to be handled “in house”. Employees still aren’t allowed to complain to the EEOC or sue in federal courts when it comes to harassment or discrimination.) See here. I don’t believe the House of Representatives has yet, though.

I think what the email in the OP means when it says “exempted from healthcare reform” is that the senators won’t have a federal employee come to their house every five years to issue a “death order,” nor will they have to run the “death panel” gauntlet, nor will they be eliminated as part of the final solution.

I have read that several attempts to legislate mandatory drug testing of members of congress have been proposed and none of them have been enacted.

Prior to 1995 Congress was exempt from many workplace and employment laws, including the minimum wage, age and disability discrimination laws, workplace safety laws, and many others. The Congressional Accountability Act of that year (a plank in the Contract with America) applied just about all employment laws to the legislative branch. Oversight is administered by the non-partisan Office of Compliance.

As for health care, members of Congress participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program – the same health care system available to all civilian employees of the federal government. And within the program they are treated no differently than other feds.

The fact of the matter is, the days of members of Congress being able to legislate themselves unending perks are long gone – precisely because of the sentiment that makes this kind of e-mail credible to so many people. Word of any benefit would get out, and they’d face a shitstorm with their constituents.

If that’s true (which I doubt), it didn’t seem to help Mark Foley.

Congress has routinely exempted itself and its members from legislation they enact. However, the idea that they’re trying to exempt themselves from “healthcare reform” is simply not true, and frankly shows a fundamental lack of understanding about what really is in the proposed legislation.

Congressmen do receive a pension, but as with most defined benefits plans, the payout is based on how long you served. A one-termer wouldn’t draw very much. They can’t start drawing the pension until they’re 62 (or age fifty if they have 20 years of service). The average pension for a retired congressperson is just over $60,000 a year.

Like most chain letters, this appears to be 99% baloney and 1% political fervor.

Given the separation of powers clause of the Constitution, I don’t think it’s as simply as Congress excluding itself from legislation. Most legislation is administered or enforced by executive branch agencies, and because of that clause, the legislative branch is not subject to it.

Foley was forced out by social pressure, not by law, IIRC.

In many cases, legislation specifically states that those laws don’t apply to the US government in total (OSHA, for example) or to the Congress in particular (the Freedom of Information Act, for example).

Sexual harassment is not a crime, and no one is prosecuted for it. Sexual assault is a different story, and members of Congress could be prosecuted for that just like anyone else. (Unless it happened on the Floor, I guess.) As far as harassment goes, if a victim of harassment brings a case, it is heard in civil court, and the only penalties are monetary. Moreover, individual perpetrators of harassment aren’t the ones that pay the fine – typically, it’s their employer.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which created federal liability for sexual harassment, did not apply to Congress, at least partly because it’s not appropriate for an Executive agency to monitor the conduct of legislators. But it has since the aforementioned Congressional Accountability Act of 1995.