U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, sent a letter to Katherine Archuleta, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), regarding his hold on the nomination of Earl L. Gay to be OPM Deputy Director.
“Allowing Congress, which employs nearly 16,000 people, to determine itself as a ‘small business’ should not have passed the common sense test. Unfortunately, it appears that the White House, and in particular, OPM, may have had some role in this,” said Vitter. “For Mr. Gay’s nomination to move forward, I require thorough and complete answers to each of my requests regarding the decision process to allow Congress to exempt itself from Obamacare that I submitted 15 months ago.”
Before the official open enrollment period for Obamacare, OPM made a decision allowing the government to continue making the employer contribution available to the health plans of Members of Congress and staff. It was widely reported in 2013 that OPM was in deliberations with Congress and officials in the White House, including the President, over the specifics of this rule.
On October 9, 2013, Vitter sent a letter to OPM requesting them to release all correspondence the Administration had with Members of Congress and their staffs related to the final Obamacare rule that allowed Congress to receive their employer contribution and allowed for some Congressional staff to avoid Obamacare all together. Vitter asked for the information by October 18, 2013, but has still not received a response from OPM. Click here to read more.
Vitter has been pushing legislation that would reverse and clarify the OPM decision by requiring all Members of Congress, the President, Vice President, and all political appointees in the Administration to purchase their health insurance through the Obamacare Exchange without the help of taxpayer-funded subsidies. Congressional staff would be prohibited from receiving any contribution greater than what they would receive if they were not employed by a congressional office.
Earlier this month, Vitter launched a new investigation into how the Washington Obamacare Exemption was first implemented. Vitter is calling on the District of Columbia Health Benefits Exchange Authority (DCHBEA) and officials from both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to come forward with information regarding their perceived qualification to inaccurately claim the United States Congress as a “small business.” Click here to read more.