Vitter will again push O-Care amendment on energy bill

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said Wednesday that he would once again try to force a vote on his ObamaCare amendment while the Senate considers an energy efficiency bill.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Tuesday that he planned to call up the bipartisan energy efficiency bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) again, possibly as early as next week. Last time that bill was considered, Reid pulled it from the floor because Vitter refused to allow any progress until he got a vote on his unrelated amendment.

Vitter calls his amendment the “No Washington Exemption Act,” which would prevent members of Congress from exempting any of their staff from entering the ObamaCare health exchanges, require all executive branch appointees to participate in the healthcare exchanges and end subsidies for congressional staff to pay for insurance.

When Reid allows amendments, he typically requires that they be germane to the bill at hand, which is why he refused to allow a vote on Vitter’s amendment last time. It’s unclear if Vitter will be as persistent this time, possibly blocking passage of the bipartisan bill.

Shaheen and Portman’s bill, S. 2262, contains measures to boost building codes, train workers in energy efficient building technologies, help manufacturers become more efficient and bolster conservation efforts at federal agencies, among other provisions. 

Reid said Tuesday that he was already working with Republicans to hold a vote on another controversial amendment among Democrats regarding the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but that has to do with energy production.  

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