The Corner

GOP Conference to Vote on Forcing All Staff onto Obamacare Exchanges

UPDATE: This vote did not take place on Thursday and is now scheduled for December of January. 

The Senate Republican Conference is currently conducting leadership elections. It is also voting on a handful of proposals and resolutions that, if backed by a majority of the conference, will be adopted as the formal positions of the GOP. They include the provision below, proposed by Louisiana senator David Vitter, which would require all Republican senators to force their staffers onto D.C.’s Obamacare exchange, and to challenge Democrats to do the same. The proposal is below: 

Resolved, that it is the policy of the Republican Conference that all Members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in a member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or any other office.

Challenge to Democrats

The Republican Conference calls upon the Senate Democrats to adopt a policy that all Democrat members shall designate all staff they employ as official for purposes of healthcare when filling out the Annual Designation of “Official Office” staff or otherwise complying with the section 1312 of the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they work in the member’s personal office, committee office, leadership office, the cloakroom or other any other office.

Right now, the Affordable Care Act requires members of Congress and some of their staffers to join the federal exchange, but some – committee and leadership staffers — are allowed to keep the plans they traditionally got through the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Until now, individual lawmakers have done things differently: Mitch McConnell, for example, required all of his staffers to join the exchange, while Harry Reid allowed his leadership staffers to opt out. If the GOP conference votes in favor of Vitter’s amendment, that will change, at least on the Republican side of the aisle.

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