On Monday, House Republican leaders indicated they would attach the Vitter amendment and a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate to the short-term resolution to fund the government and send it back to the Senate. The amendment would prevent federal employees in congress and the Executive Branch from receiving Obamacare subsidies.
If Congress does not pass a short-term resolution to fund the government by Monday, the government will partially shut down on Tuesday.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who spearheaded the effort to advance Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) amendment, said lawmakers in Congress cared about Obamacare and were “able to engineer a special rule through the bureaucracy” only when it impacted them and not blue-collar Americans losing work hours or their insurance.
“We should be the last ones who should be getting relief. Our constituents should be the first ones,” DeSantis said of the bureaucratic rule that will allow lawmakers in Congress and their staffs to get federal subsidies for their insurance premiums they will have to buy on the Obamacare exchanges.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) said the point of the amendment was to “point out to Congress some of the pain we are inflicting on this country,” such as being forced to buy unsubsidized insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and disclose personal health information with no privacy protections.
Enzi emphasized that the amendment would “make us be under the same laws as America,” and that the Vitter amendment would not allow subsidies for employees working for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, or their appointees.
“They ought to feel the same pain as America,” Enzi said.
Vitter said the subsidies lawmakers and their staffs in Congress are set to get defeats the purpose of the provision in Obamacare that was meant to make Congress live under the same laws as Americans who would be forced onto healthcare exchanges.