At last, a common-sense initiative came out of Washington — and it even involved our own U.S. House Rep. Lynn Jenkins. Jenkins, R-Topeka.

Jenkins and her Congressional counterpart U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced a Constitutional amendment stipulating all government officials — including members of Congress — live by the same laws (and benefits programs) as the rest of Americans. That means the Affordable Care Act applies to them too, rather than just to all the Average Joes and Janes across the United States. Jenkins’ move, if successful, would be a significant step toward having a level playing field that doesn’t give special benefits and entitlements for those who might think they are above the law and deserve more than everyone else.

Though we often criticize Jenkins for her inaction in Congress, this time we want to give her credit for initiating the right kind of legislation.

“This amendment should not be necessary, but we continue to see members of Congress, or other groups have been able to carve out special treatment under U.S. law,” Jenkins said. “Those who make the laws, should have to live by those laws. It is not fair that those in a position of power are treated differently than every other hardworking American.”

The proposed Constitutional amendment, HR Res. 97, specifically says, “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United states that is not equally applicable to members of Congress, judges of the Supreme Court of the United Sates, or the executive branch, including the president and the vice president.”

Politicians’ compensation benefits should be equitable proportionately to other federal employees with suitable and transparent rate parity for all.  Many private businesses offer the same benefit plan to the rank-and-file employees as they do to the leaders of those organizations. It should work the same way for federal workers at the highest and lowest levels.

While it’s difficult to know if Jenkins’ controversial move and its companion Senate bill, S.J. 25, will be approved, at least this time Jenkins followed through with legislation rather than just complaints about the current system. That’s what pragmatic Kansans do every day. We’re glad to see Jenkins attempting to do the right thing.

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher