(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) today introduced legislation called the “Show Your Exemption” Act which would require each Congressional office to make public which staff they deem “official”. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were both tasked with designating their staff “official” or not. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) ruling, “official” staff must enter the Obamacare exchange. Staff who are not designated “official” keep their current plan on the Federal Employee Benefit Program. The Obamacare statue clearly states that all Members of Congress and their staffs are to procure their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange. However, the OPM ruling created a loophole that allows Members to designate some staff as not “official” in order to exempt them from the exchange.
“For members to use this illegal loophole so that some staff stay off the exchanges altogether is outrageous. It flies in the face of the exact language of Obamacare,” Vitter said. “If these staffers aren't 'official', then the taxpayer shouldn't pay for their salaries or office support or anything else.”
Vitter has designated all of his staff, including his staff on the Environment and Public Works Committee, as “official.”
The “Vitter Amendment”, which would eliminate the Obamacare exemption for Washington altogether, would clarify that all Members of Congress, congressional staff, the President, Vice President and political appointees must purchase their health plans on the exchange. It would also require that they receive the same amount of financial support from tax credits or subsidies as any American outside of Washington.
The legislation prohibits the same group from receiving tax-payer funded contributions in the form of subsidies, tax credits, or employer contribution to purchase insurance on the exchange- as in most of these cases they earn above the maximum income ($46,000 individual/$92,000 family) and would otherwise be ineligible for subsidies or tax credits as defined in the statute.
Today is the deadline for the House of Representatives to make their designations. The Senate deadline was October 25.