by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Nearly two years after the Louisiana Republican’s first attack on Congress’s Obamacare exemption, [David] Vitter and Texas senator Ted Cruz are teaming up for yet another shot at the federal health-care subsidies fraudulently obtained by lawmakers. In a departure from previous attempts, the pair believe that a measure to kill the subsidies will attract more support from their colleagues if it exempts congressional staffers. And they intend to tack such a measure on to the crucial federal highway bill currently making its way through Congress — if their fellow senators don’t nix the provision before it reaches the Senate floor.
On Tuesday, Vitter filed a standalone bill requiring members of Congress, the president, and all presidential appointees to enroll in Obamacare and give up subsidies fraudulently obtained through D.C.’s small-business health-insurance exchange. Cruz plans to submit an identical amendment to the Highway and Mass Transit Bill, a must-pass piece of legislation and a likely vehicle for pet projects on both sides of the aisle.
“Virtually all of my Republican colleagues regularly come to the floor and rightly complain about President Obama changing statutory law with a stroke of his pen, acting beyond his authority,” Vitter said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “This is a crystal-clear example of that. And when we complain about it in other contexts, I think we should speak up and complain about it even when it benefits us. . . . We should not stand for this Washington exemption from Obamacare.”