Senator Vitter, Congressional Health Care, and the Rule of Law

This weekend the Washington Post published an article entitled “A senator’s lonely quest to embarrass Congress,” which describes Senator Vitter’s continuing efforts with regard to the health insurance plans available to Members of Congress and congressional staff. You wouldn’t think that embarrassing Congress would be all that lonely of a quest; perhaps that’s why the online title is changed to “David Vitter’s political quest to embarrass Congress on health care.”

Of specific interest to this blog, Vitter objects to the fact that some committee and leadership office staffers have not been required to obtain insurance on the exchanges. In remarks made on November 13 in the Congressional Record, he states:

Part of [the OPM] rule, which I think is outrageous on its face, says: Well, we don’t know who official staff are. We cannot determine that, so we are going to leave it up to each individual Member of Congress to determine who their official staff are. As long as they deem certain staff nonofficial, then they don’t have to go to the exchanges at all. They don’t have to follow that clear mandate in the statute itself.

Well, again, when we are talking about folks who work on our staff, committee staff, and leadership staff, that is ridiculous. They are clearly official staff.

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