Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) this week tied up his chamber, blocking efforts to work on a bipartisan energy efficiency bill. He said he'd reconsider his obstructionist antics if the Senate voted on his measure to end the "Washington exemption from ObamaCare."
As a substantive matter, Vitter is either deeply confused or playing a silly game in the hopes the public is deeply confused. There is no congressional "exemption" from the Affordable Care Act, as I imagine most senators realize. But Vitter engaged in his little stunt anyway, to his colleagues' annoyance.
It appears that some of those colleagues are growing tired of the Louisiana Republican's antics, and have a brush-back pitch in mind.
Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare -- and they're dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back.Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers' health care coverage.But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is "probable cause" they solicited prostitutes.
For those who may have forgotten, Vitter ran for the Senate on a "family values" platform, before getting caught with prostitutes. Making matters slightly worse, in at least one instance, the far-right Republican was found to have arranged a liaison with prostitutes from the congressional floor.
Vitter then ran for re-election anyway and won with relative ease.
By and large, Democrats have made very little effort to humiliate their conservative colleague over this, but it's obvious they haven't forgotten about it, either. The issue has apparently become something of a trump card Dems are prepared to play if nothing else works.
I imagine Vitter will see this as a cheap shot. Indeed, he's already complaining.
"Harry Reid is acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that," Vitter said in a statement to POLITICO, referring to the Senate majority leader. "This just shows how far Washington insiders will go to protect their special Obamacare exemption."
First, let's just be absolutely clear about the policy -- there's no such thing as an Obamacare exemption for Congress. It's a made-up talking point that Republicans are fond of, which has no basis in fact. Whether or not Vitter realizes how wrong he is doesn't matter; he keeps saying something that isn't accurate.
Second, when you're a married, family-values conservative who gets caught with prostitutes, you probably shouldn't expect there to be no consequences for your actions.