House Republicans Say Their Staffs Are Ready to Get Screwed on Health Care Costs

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 30 2013 3:36 PM

House Republicans Say Their Staffs Are Ready to Get Screwed on Health Care Costs

Janette Dunder demonstrates against Congress' inability to pass a budget outside the U.S. Capitol September 30, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

From 2 p.m. to nearly 4 p.m., House Republicans huddled in a conference meeting that was closed to staffers. Lucky them: They didn't get to hear their bosses agree that the next best end run on the continuing resolution was to attach Sen. David Vitter's amendment that would take away subsidies for staffers' health plans.

Like the last couple of gambits, this was telegraphed several days in advance. Unlike the last couple of gambits, this would endorse an amendment that was created purely as a political tactic, and one that would not delay Obamacare itself.

As House Republicans filed out, I asked whether their staffers were on board with this. "We've been talking, as you would imagine, for the last several months," said Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, who did not elaborate on what these poor saps thought.


"It's difficult for some of these guys," said Rep. Chris Stewart, a freshman from Utah. "They're not making much money. I've always said that. I understand that. But on the other hand, a lof of them are saying that if this is the way we can delay this bill, I think they're willing to do that."

Rep. Pat Tiberi suggested that some staffers weren't going to suffer, really—and of course the ones who are married to people with excellent health plans won't suffer. "It's depending on their own situations," he said. "It's mixed. Some have, some others have different situations. It's a problem, but it's not unanimous one way or the other."

Update: Matt Yglesias explains the bizarre and trollish politics that birthed the Vitter amendment.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.