Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 27, 2015

Vitter Wants Reid to Explain His Staff’s Partial Obamacare Exemption (Updated)

Vitter, front, has been seeking to force all lawmakers and staff to join the Obamacare exchanges without employer-provided contributions. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Vitter, front, has been seeking to force all lawmakers and staff to join the Obamacare exchanges without employer-provided contributions. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 5:05 p.m. | Sen. David Vitter, R-La., is taking another whack at Obamacare and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — this time challenging the Nevada Democrat to disclose how he decided to exempt staffers from the exchange and whether those staffers helped draft the law.

Vitter invited Reid to the floor to discuss the matter with him and plans to read the letter he sent Tuesday to the majority leader for the Congressional Record. Reid is the only top congressional leader to exempt some staff from the Obamacare exchanges, even though all were legally entitled to do so. Reid’s staff, in concert with aides to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, largely were responsible for writing the 2010 health care law.

“Millions of Americans are losing the health care plans and doctors they wanted to keep and are facing dramatic premium increases, all as Washington enjoys a special exemption,” Vitter said in a statement that accompanied the letter. “I’m asking Sen. Reid to publicly and in writing answer four important questions about his choice to exempt some of his staff from Obamacare. To make it easy, I’ve offered to have him join me on the Senate floor this afternoon.”

Vitter had previously filed ethics complaints against Reid over a seemingly retaliatory amendment that Democrats had floated introducing to Vitter’s proposal to take away congressional staff and members’ employer contributions. The Reid amendment would have disqualified members who had solicited prostitutes from entering the Obamacare exchanges. Vitter was implicated in the D.C. Madam scandal in 2007.

Vitter’s letter to Reid on Tuesday asked the senator four basic questions: How did he designate his staff as “non-official” and ergo exempt from the exchanges; do those staffers receive taxpayer-funded salaries or benefits; were the staffers exempted involved in drafting the law; and does Reid feel his actions are consistent with previous statements that staffers would enter the exchange?

Full letter below:

December 10, 2013

The Honorable Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

Office of the Senate Majority Leader

S-221 the Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid,

It has been reported that you are the only Member of top Congressional leadership–House and Senate, Democrat and Republican– who has exempted some of your staff from having to procure their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange as clearly required by the Obamacare statute.

Millions of Americans are losing the health care plans and doctors they wanted to keep and are facing dramatic premium increases, all as Washington enjoys a special exemption. Given this, I ask you to publicly and in writing answer the four important questions below regarding your office’s exemption. I will also be on the Senate floor to discuss this at approximately 4:15 pm today and invite you to join me there.

First, how did you designate each member of your staff, including your leadership staff, regarding their status as “official” (going to the Exchange) or “not official” (exempted from Exchange)? Did you delegate that designation to the Senate Disbursing Office, which would have the effect of exempting all of your leadership staff from going to the Exchange?

Second, if any of your staff is designated as “not official” (exempted from Exchange), are any of those staff members receiving official taxpayer-funded salaries, benefits, office space, office equipment, or any other taxpayer support?

Third, if any of your staff is designated as “not official” (exempted from Exchange), did any of these staff members assist you in drafting or passing Obamacare into law? If so, which staff members exactly?

Fourth, how are the above designations of yours consistent with the clear, unequivocal statement you made on September 12: “Let’s stop these really juvenile political games — the one dealing with health care for senators and House members and our staff. We are going to be part of exchanges, that’s what the law says and we’ll be part of that.”[1]

I look forward to your clear, written responses to these important questions. I also look forward to having fair, up-or-down votes on the Senate floor on my “Show Your Exemptions” and “No Washington Exemptions” proposals in the new year.

Sincerely,

David Vitter

U.S. Senator

Update 5:05 p.m.

Reid’s office released the following response to the Vitter letter.

“We hope that Senator Vitter enjoys the government-sponsored health care contribution he reportedly continues to receive even as he launches these pointless political attacks,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in an emailed statement. “Senator Reid continues to stand ready to work with any Republican who wants to work together to fix issues with the Affordable Care Act as they arise. Instead, Senator Vitter and his fellow Republicans appear dead set on going back to the days when insurance companies could deny Americans coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”

Comments (26)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Kimber1911

    Dec. 10, 2013
    8:37 p.m.

    It’s business as usual.. The ruling class prospers and gets all the perks on the backs of the tax payor.
    These people work for us not the other way around.. It’s time that they are all shown who their bosses really are !

  2. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    4:01 a.m.

    you are really a good webmaster. The site loading speed is incredible. It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a wonderful job on this topic!

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  3. Anonymous

    July 8, 2015
    2:22 a.m.

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the longer term and it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this put up and if I may I wish to counsel you some fascinating issues or advice. Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to this article. I desire to learn even more things about it!

    http://www.onlinetamilserial.com/profile.php?u=WoodrowBavi

  4. Anonymous

    July 12, 2015
    8:20 a.m.

    Pretty component to content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing on your feeds or even I fulfillment you get admission to constantly fast.

    http://www.wikihands.com/How_To_Start_A_Business_With_Only_Delhi_Female_Escorts

  5. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    3:51 a.m.

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great info being shared freely out there.

    http://www.kiwibox.com/jellycut8/blog/entry/131290553/low-cost-auto-insurance-new-york/?pPage=0

  6. Anonymous

    July 18, 2015
    6:10 a.m.

    of course like your web site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will definitely come back again.

    http://www.4cd.com/members/julyguitar9/activity/332973/

  7. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    5:02 a.m.

    Very nice layout and excellent subject material, hardly anything else we need : D.

    http://lowcostautoquotes.com/low-cost-car-insurance.html

  8. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    5:45 a.m.

    Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a great site.

    http://split.us

  9. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    10:13 a.m.

    Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness on your put up is simply cool and that i can assume you’re a professional on this subject. Well along with your permission allow me to grasp your RSS feed to stay up to date with imminent post. Thank you one million and please carry on the rewarding work.

    http://split.us

  10. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    9:18 p.m.

    Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    https://bestplumbers.com

  11. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    9:12 p.m.

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days..

    http://www.chow.com/profile/1564259#

  12. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    6:10 p.m.

    It?¦s really a cool and helpful piece of info. I?¦m satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    http://brookereviews.com/product/fat-diminisher-review-wesley-virgin-does-fat-diminisher-really-work-or-just-a-scam/

  13. Anonymous

    July 31, 2015
    1 p.m.

    I like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site :)

    http://domweselnywarszawa.eu/

  14. Anonymous

    Aug. 2, 2015
    5:21 p.m.

    Your style is so unique compared to many other people. Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity,Guess I will just make this bookmarked.2

    http://www.consultdustry.com

  15. Anonymous

    Aug. 6, 2015
    3:50 a.m.

    What i don’t realize is actually how you are no longer really a lot more smartly-appreciated than you may be now. You’re very intelligent. You understand therefore significantly with regards to this subject, produced me individually imagine it from a lot of various angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved unless it is something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs great. All the time care for it up!

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org

  16. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    4:15 a.m.

    Wohh precisely what I was searching for, appreciate it for posting.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  17. Anonymous

    Aug. 7, 2015
    9:07 a.m.

    Of course, what a splendid blog and educative posts, I will bookmark your blog.All the Best!

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org/compare-auto-insurance-rates-by-zip-code.html

  18. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    2:47 p.m.

    The following time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to learn, however I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can repair when you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

    http://topcheapinsurance.com/companies-insurance-united-states.html

  19. Anonymous

    Aug. 19, 2015
    7:24 a.m.

    What i do not realize is actually how you’re not really much more well-liked than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You realize thus significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it’s one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs nice. Always maintain it up!

    http://listdoswietegomikolaja.bravesites.com/

  20. Anonymous

    Aug. 19, 2015
    9:37 a.m.

    I’ve recently started a site, the info you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. “Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.” by George Jean Nathan.

    http://www.sdorttuiiplmnr.com/

  21. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    9:22 a.m.

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for posting. “Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.” by Ronald Reagan.

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org/primerica-insurance.html

  22. Anonymous

    Aug. 24, 2015
    2:24 p.m.

    I would like to get across my admiration for your kindness supporting men who have the need for help on this one content. Your very own dedication to passing the solution across became especially helpful and has without exception helped employees like me to realize their targets. This informative suggestions entails a lot a person like me and much more to my office workers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

    http://quotesautoinsurance.org/primerica-insurance.html

  23. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    1:52 p.m.

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

    http://hotelepoznan.blog.pl/

  24. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    2:36 p.m.

    Some really select content on this site, saved to favorites.

    http://www.loanstable.com/story.php?title=message-pere-noel-8#discuss

  25. Anonymous

    Aug. 26, 2015
    2:07 a.m.

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    http://topcheapinsurance.com/travelers-home-and-auto-insurance.html

  26. Anonymous

    Aug. 26, 2015
    2:45 a.m.

    I visited a lot of website but I conceive this one has got something extra in it in it

    http://topcheapinsurance.com/travelers-home-and-auto-insurance.html

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...