Senators approved a budget amendment early Friday morning to cut the employer contribution to their health insurance.

Senators voted 52-46 on the amendment, offered by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Dan Coats (Ind.) voted against the amendment.

{mosads}Vitter has tried for years to raise awareness on the issue.

The proposal requires lawmakers, President Obama, Vice President Biden and all political appointees to obtain health insurance on the Affordable Care Act’s individual health exchange.

The Louisiana Republican said ahead of the vote that it would not impact congressional staff.

Vitter stated his amendment says lawmakers don’t need a “special subsidy.”

“We’re going to go to the exchange for our healthcare, no special subsidy, no special deal, and it would also apply to the president, the vice president and their political appointees,” he said. “This amendment would not change anything at all with regard to congressional staff.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), however, argued senators are currently treated like employees of large companies.

“Those large employers all make a contribution to their employees’ health care. … We are treated like everyone else in the country where we have an employer contribution to our healthcare,” she said. 

Boxer said if senators didn’t want the contribution, they could give it back.

“You don’t need this amendment to give it back. If you feel as strongly as Sen. Vitter does that your family and you don’t want or need this employer contribution, then give it back to the Treasury,” she said.

The vote is nonbinding, but it does force senators on the record.

Tags David Vitter

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