It honestly takes a lot to get me to feel sympathy for David Vitter, (R. La.) Like most of the world, I was floored by the voters of Louisiana returning Vitter, a religious right politician, to the Senate after his scandal involving high-priced prostitutes. However, that is precisely the unique skill of the current Democratic leadership — they seem eager to win any race to the bottom. Vitter this week opposed an Obama regulation that gives an exemption of members of Congress and their aides under Obamacare. The regulation allows Congress to pay for its own generous subsidies to avoid having to live under the new law like normal citizens. While there is a definite appeal to Vitter’s view that the Congress should live under the same law applicable to average citizens, there may be some legitimate argument that I am missing. What should be clear is that some Democrats reacted in worse possible way. Politico is reporting that it has legislation drafted by Democrats that would eliminate health care benefits for lawmakers where there is “probable cause” to believe they patronized prostitutes. If true, this is really a sophomoric act of retaliation. Politico is reporting that this is not a joke but something actually raised as a meeting of Democratic members.
Apparently even Republicans are mad at Vitter for exposing the hypocrisy of Congress imposing a law on the country while (yet again) creating an exception for itself. The law actually has language barring exceptions, but the Obama Administration issued an order during the August recess to require the Office of Personnel Management to retain the subsidy for members and their staffs.
Even if you believe Congress should be able spare itself from having to get insurance like other Americans, this alleged proposal (and other retaliatory measure directed at Senators supporting Vitter) would set a new low for Congress. I still find it hard to believe that any Democrat would draft such an openly retaliatory and vicious response. Yet, there has been no denial that a draft was circulated that I could find.
Vitter has demanded an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, specifically naming Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). A Reid spokeswoman said Vitter’s aim is a “desperate attempt to change the subject from his previous ethics issues.” That statement is troubling since I fail to see why we are discussing Vitter’s ethics at all in this context. He has a perfectly valid point in seeking to block an exception for members under this controversial law.
What do you think about the effective subsidy that Congress will continue to give itself under the regulation?