Vitter: Clerks are blocking ObamaCare investigation

Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterGrocery group hires new top lobbyist Lobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views MORE (R-La.) is claiming that congressional clerks are stonewalling his investigation into why some staffers are allowed exemptions from ObamaCare.

Vitter has aggressively opposed a provision of ObamaCare that allows certain congressional aides to receive employer subsidies to buy healthcare insurance, which he calls “Washington’s ObamaCare exemption.”

Vitter recently wrote to financial clerks in both chambers, as well as leaders of the D.C. health exchange, to demand documents that showed the origin of the exemption.

But he said Thursday that each of his requests was rejected.

“Key players involved appear unwilling to comply with a straightforward Congressional request,” Vitter wrote in a statement Thursday.

“I will continue this investigation until the people responsible for this mess are identified and held accountable,” he said, adding that he has given officials until Feb. 24 to comply.

The new investigation comes more than one year after Vitter sought documents from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), but received no response, he said.

All members of Congress and “official” members of their staff are required to purchase healthcare through the marketplaces, as stipulated by the Grassley amendment to the Affordable Care Act.

The Louisiana Republican has pushed his own version, called the Vitter amendment, which would require all staffers to go through the exchanges.

Vitter has redoubled his efforts in the new GOP-controlled Congress, gaining some traction. He announced last week that he would block the nomination of a high-ranking OPM official because the agency has ignored his questions about ObamaCare.

“Once they answer some specific questions about why they think Congress is entitled to a special exemption from ObamaCare, I’ll release the hold,” Vitter said last week.

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (Ohio), is also hoping to renew the fight.

Wenstrup introduced a bill called the “Show Your Exemption Act” last week, which would require members of Congress to disclose publicly whether their staff members purchase insurance through ObamaCare, information that is not currently available.