Since the Senate rejected the House's government-funding resolution this afternoon, House Republicans are now discussing a proposal that would include the Vitter amendment, which would strip lawmakers and Hill staffers of federal contributions for their health insurance. Jonathan Strong at The National Review reports that House GOP staff was kicked out of the meeting about the new proposal, because — awkward — their bosses are talking about cutting their health care.
Sen. David Vitter has been pushing his amendment for weeks, much to the chagrin of Senate Democrats (and some Republicans, too). We noted on Thursday that it can't be fun to work for Vitter right now, or any other congressional Republican who supports this amendment. In the push to pass it, the GOP will almost surely shut down the government, which will leave staffers out on the street without pay. And it's all so those same staffers can get what is essentially a big pay cut: losing federal contributions for their health insurance.
As Patrick Brennan at The National Review explains, congressional employees are unique in that they must participate in Obamacare exchanges — the result of an amendment originally proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley and later embraced by Democrats. That amendment made it clear, however, that the government should still make contributions to the insurance.
The National Review's Katrina Trinko reports the House will vote on the amendment on Monday, according to Rep. Ron DeSantis. But Rep. Don Young doesn't think there are enough votes to pass it. House Speaker John Boehner made it clear on Monday afternoon that there would not be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning there would likely be some kind of Obamacare-related amendment attached.
Sen. Ted Cruz previously advocated to expand the Vitter amendment to include all federal employees, like D.C. teachers and police officers. The new GOP message sure doesn't make for an uplifting work environment: nobody should get healthcare, and in the meantime, nobody gets paid.