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Press Release: Republican Senators Vote to Treat Congress Equally Under Obamacare

Vitter will continue to push for a full vote on his No Washington Exemption legislation

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) – The Senate Republican Conference accepted a rule proposed by U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) to designate their staff as “official” so they cannot be exempted from entering the Obamacare Exchange. Some Members of Congress created a loophole out of the statute in Obamacare that states that Congress and official staff must enter the Obamacare Exchange by designating their staff as “non-official,” allowing them to avoid entering Obamacare. The resolution today did not specifically address the health care subsidies allowed by the Washington Exemption.

“Republican senators made a strong, principled statement today in passing my resolution. Washington should have to live under Obamacare just like everybody else until we repeal it. And we won't be complicit in Obama's illegal rule designed to protect Washington insiders,” Vitter said.

Below is the text of Vitter’s resolution adopted today:

Member and Staff Health Care:

Resolved, that it is the policy of the Republican Conference that all Members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in a member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or any other office.

Challenge to Democrats:

The Republican Conference calls upon the Senate Democrats to adopt a policy that all Democrat members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in the member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or other any other office.

OPM’s Regulations states: “individual Members or their designees are in the best position to determine which staff work in “official office” of each member. Accordingly, OPM will leave those determinations to the Members or their designees and will not interfere in the process… Nothing in this Regulation limits a Member’s authority to delegate to the House or Senate Administrative Offices the Member’s decision about the proper designation of his or her staff.”

Vitter has been pushing legislation that would require all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within the administration to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange and receive the same amount of financial support from tax credits or subsidies as any American would outside of Washington. Vitter has designated all of his staff, including committee staff, as official as the law requires.

Last fall Vitter fought to get a vote on his legislation, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked his attempts. Vitter also introduced his legislation in April, but Reid pulled the legislation from the floor before it could get a vote. However, Reid did agree to give Vitter a vote in the future. Click here to read some of Vitter’s efforts to pass his “No Washington Exemption from Obamacare.”

Currently members of Congress and their staff members are still eligible to receive taxpayer funded subsidies ($5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a family) to pay for their health care. Those same subsidies are not available to any other American.

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Source:  Sen. David Vitter (R-la) news release at http://www.vitter.senate.gov/newsroom/press/vitter-republican-senators-vote-to-treat-congress-equally-under-obamacare-

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