Dems getting p!ssy over their Obamacare exemption

GOP Congressman introduces a bill to force the Senate and Congress to use the same Obamacare exchanges they expect the average citizen to use and the Dems (and presumedly a few Republicans as well) get nasty over it... Yep, just another day in Washington.

Prostitution. Bribery. Blackmail. Thuggery. Hypocrisy.

Those were just some of the incendiary words thrown around the U.S. Senate last week, and that doesn’t count what people said in private.

The Senate may still have a reputation as a genteel club, but lawmakers seemed to abandon rules of decorum completely last week in arguments about whether Congress should be treated like the rest of the country when it comes to Obamacare.

Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has demanded a floor vote on his bill to end an exemption that members of Congress and their staffs are slated to get that will make them the only participants in the new Obamacare exchanges to receive generous subsidies from their employer to pay for their health insurance. Angry Senate Democrats have drafted legislation that dredges up a 2007 prostitution scandal involving Vitter. The confrontation is a perfect illustration of just how wide the gulf in attitudes is between the Beltway and the rest of the country — and how viciously Capitol Hill denizens will fight for their privileges.

In 1995, the newly elected Republican Congress passed a Congressional Accountability Act to fulfill a promise made the previous year in the Contract with America. For the first time, the Act applied to Congress the same civil-rights employment and labor laws that lawmakers had required everyday citizens to abide by. With some lapses, it’s worked well to defuse public outrage about “one law for thee, one law for me” congressional behavior.

In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) decided that the principle deserved to be embedded in Obamacare, and he was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. “The more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better,” said Grassley. Although his amendment was watered down before final passage to exclude committee staff, it still applies to members of Congress and their personal staffs. Most employment lawyers interpreted that to mean that the taxpayer-funded federal health-insurance subsidies dispensed to those on Congress’s payroll — which now range from $5,000 to $11,000 a year — would have to end.

Democratic and Republican staffers alike were furious, warning that Congress faced a “brain drain” if the provision stuck. Under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits.
OPM had previously balked at issuing such a ruling. Even without OPM, Congress could have voted to restore the subsidies or ordered a salary raise to compensate for the loss of benefits, but that would have been a messy, public process, which everyone wanted to avoid.

Senator Vitter says the OPM ruling has removed “the sting of Obamacare” from Congress. “Many Americans will see their health coverage dropped by employers, and they will be forced into the exchanges,” he told me last week. “If Congress is forced into them on the same terms, it will be more likely to fix Obamacare’s problems for others.” The bill he and his co-author, Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming, have drafted would make everyone working on Capitol Hill buy insurance through the exchanges — with no subsidies. White House officials and political appointees in the executive branch would also be required to obtain health insurance through the exchanges.

The Congressional Leadership Empire decided to strike back at Vitter. Politico reported that several Democratic senators have asked staff to draft legislation that would deny federal health subsidies to anyone who votes for the Vitter plan, even if Vitter’s plan doesn’t become law. An even more spiteful draft bill would bar subsidies to any lawmaker or aide found by a congressional ethics committee to have “engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.” In 2007, Vitter’s phone number was found in the records of the “D.C. Madam,” the owner of a high-end prostitution ring. Back then, Vitter held a news conference with his wife standing next to him and apologized for a “serious sin” that he refused to discuss further. He was reelected with 57 percent of the vote in 2010.

Vitter isn’t taking the attempts to strong-arm him quietly. “Harry Reid is acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that,” he said in a statement to Politico. He also wrote a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee demanding an investigation of Reid and Democratic senator Barbara Boxer of California. “Threatening to take away their colleagues’ health care coverage subsidy if they do not vote a certain way, at worst constitutes bribery and a quid pro quo arrangement, and at best amounts to improper conduct,” he wrote. Senator Reid’s office responded by calling Vitter’s charges “absurd and baseless.”

What Vitter’s opponents fear most is that this fight will penetrate the public’s consciousness. A new poll taken for Independent Women’s Voice, a conservative group, found that 92 percent of voters think Congress shouldn’t be exempted from the insurance provisions of Obamacare. Most voters blame both parties equally for the exemption, which means Republicans will also be hurt politically if it stands. “This is an issue with almost unprecedented intensity,” IWV president Heather Higgins told me. “Republicans have the choice of leading the Vitter parade for repeal or getting run over by it. To duck it will be viewed by their constituents as political malpractice.”


Live it, breath it, accept it!

Faggots Phone Post

One set of rules for everyone... Fuckin a!! What a crazy idea Phone Post 3.0

i support this completely.

in fact, i think its the acid test of obamacare.

and, i think obamacare is failing the test.

martinburke - 

lol @ threatening us with a "brain drain".

If what we have in Washington is brains, then we need more stupid.

oh don't ask for that. the one thing our politicians are capable of doing is generating more stupid.

disbeliever - Makes no sense something that is good for America isn't used by it's leaders. If it's so good, why not?

The ruling class


I think all the lifetime benefits should be taken away also. What makes them so special?

disbeliever - Makes no sense something that is good for America isn't used by it's leaders. If it's so good, why not?


disbeliever - Makes no sense something that is good for America isn't used by it's leaders. If it's so good, why not?

because politicians are used to doing this sort of thing with impunity. Look at their insider trading privileges. They are used to fucking over people with total impunity.

Problem is now with the internet, more people are aware these days. Lets just hope it translates into some sort of action or accountability for the politicians.

I like this, although I don't believe that Vitter actually believes in it.  I see this as political grandstanding so GOP can attack Dems during re-election campaigns "He passes laws for the people but drafts laws that exclude him from participating"

dabigchet -
disbeliever - Makes no sense something that is good for America isn't used by it's leaders. If it's so good, why not?

the problem was that a exception was made for congress (and more importantly, their staff) to be forced into the exchanges without compensation for loss of existing benefits. they were literally the only people in america who were affected by the law in this way.

congressional staffers don't make a ton of money, and the way it was, by law, they lost a health insurance benefit. so, it did actually in fact need to be fixed.

Well then they shouldn't have voted for it. Phone Post


"Do as i say, not as i do!" Phone Post

we dont have armed police guarding our work and sometimes our families either...but i know a group of people that do.

well, fack the peasants

Is it not in the Constitution that all laws apply equally to all of the people?

If so, how does Obama get the power to exempt whomever he wants from this law?

Can he exempt anyone he wants from any law then?   Other than a pardon?