Democrats block Vitter’s ‘no Washington exemption’ amendment

The government will shut down Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't approve some form of government funding measure.

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Vitter said the Senate should vote on his amendment before Oct. 1 because that’s when an “illegal” rule goes into effect. The administration announced that some congressional employees could be exempt from having to enter ObamaCare health exchanges and allows the federal government to contribute to insurance costs of the staffers who enroll in the program.

Vitter has called this a “Washington exemption.”

“What is good for America should be good for Washington,” Vitter said Thursday. “I urge us to vote and act and not block out this debate and not block out this vote.”

His amendment would force the president, vice president, executive branch appointees and all congressional staff to enroll on the health exchanges, among other things. He vowed to keep bringing the amendment up until he got a vote.

"We need a vote on this matter, and it should happen before Oct. 1," Vitter said. "It will happen, and we will have this debate and vote." 

The Senate is considering a continued spending resolution (CR) to fund the government through mid-December. Typically when an amendment is attached to a CR, it expires when the funding measure ends.

Democrats also blocked three ObamaCare-related amendments from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have repealed the medical devise tax, delayed the individual mandate for one year and allowed employers to deny contraception coverage if it went against their religious beliefs.

This article was updated at 2:20 p.m.