Round 3: House to Strip Congress's ObamaCare Exemption

Round 3: House to Strip Congress's ObamaCare Exemption

On Monday, the House announced that it would pass a third Continuing Resolution to keep government open past Monday’s midnight deadline. The announcement came soon after the Senate rejected the House CR that would delay ObamaCare for one year. The latest House CR will remove the special exemption from ObamaCare the Obama Administration gave to members of Congress and their staffs.

When ObamaCare passed in 2010, Sen. Chuck Grassley won approval for an amendment that would require members of Congress and congressional staff to enroll for health insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges. Because of this provision, the federal government would no longer by able to pay the 70+% of premiums it covered for members’ and staff’s health insurance. The Obama Administration issued a waiver to this rule early this year. 

The narrowly drafted CR set to be voted on by the House Monday afternoon would block this waiver. If approved, members and their staff would have to enroll for health insurance through the exchanges, which are set to open on Tuesday. 

The Senate is likely to reject this latest CR, as Harry Reid has vowed not to compromise on any language to keep the government open. Still, voting to maintain a special exemption for themselves raises political risks for Senate Democrats. 

Shutting down the government to preserve their special treatment is a reason why Senate Democrats may accrue more blame over the shutdown than conventional wisdom assumes.