Some members of the U.S. Senate – Democrats and Republicans – are bitter at Vitter, and the situation could get nasty.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana’s junior senator, is holding up an energy bill until he can get a vote on an amendment he is proposing.
His amendment would require members of Congress and their staffs to buy health insurance through exchanges being created under the Affordable Care Act, know as Obamacare.
Under Vitter’s amendment, those purchases would come without the usual $5,000 to $11,000 government subsidy for federal health insurance.
Vitter says that his amendment would require members and their staffs, as well as the president, vice president, and political appointees to deal with the same arrangements being faced by many Americans under Obamacare.
But the Democratic leadership of the Senate is not happy with Vitter’s stalling tactics. It is considering an amendment of its own that would deny subsidized health care for members when there is “probable cause” to believe they had solicited prostitutes, an obvious reference to Vitter’s past.
It was back in 2007 that Vitter admitted to a “very serious sin” after his phone number appeared in the records of the D.C. Madam, a Washington escort service exposed as a prostitution operation.
Nevertheless, Vitter is not backing down. He told Politico that Majority Leader Harry Reid was acting like an “old-time Vegas mafia thug.”
In addition, he has requested that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics investigate whether Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and their respective staffs violated committee rules by proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties members’ health care benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes.
And Vitter’s action is not sitting well with the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon. He said that Vitter is taking the wrong tactic to advance his legislation.
Wyden said, “I ask the senator from Louisiana, who I know cares a lot about energy policy – in his state I imagine they talk about energy quite a bit – to not hold this bipartisan energy bill hostage for something else. Let’s get this passed. It is the first significant energy bill on the floor of the Senate since 2007.”
While Vitter was apologetic, he did not cave in. He said that he has no desire to obstruct or delay the energy bill, but that he hopes the Democratic leadership will agree to a vote on his amendment by October 1.
Some political analysts believe that Vitter’s actions, where he is upsetting members of both parties, is an indication that he plans to run for governor in 2015. The senator has not commented on that.
When all is said and done, Vitter appears to have public support for his stand.
A poll conducted by GEB International for Independent Women’s Voice revealed that 94% of respondents believe that members of Congress and their staffs should be requuired to abide by the same law they passed and get their insurance the same way as millions of other Americans now will have to through the exchanges.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) has released its rankings of state legislators from the session held earlier this year.
Legislators are graded on bills that LABI considers essential to the betterment of business and industry. Here are the rankings of local legislators. They indicate the percentage that they supported LABI’s position with 100% being the highest score.
*Sen. Barrow Peacock (R) – 92%.
*Sen. Robert Adley (R) – 72%.
*Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington (R) – 40%.
*Sen. Greg Tarver (D) – 28%.
*Rep. Ritchie Burford (R) – 78%.
*Rep. Henry Burns (R) – 78%.
*Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R) – 78%.
*Rep. Jeff Thompson (R) – 78%.
*Rep. Roy Burrell (D) – 67%.
*Rep. Jim Morris (R) – 67%.
*Rep. Barbara Norton (D) – 67%.
*Rep. Gene Reynolds (D) – 67%.
*Rep. Thomas Carmody (R) – 56%.
*Rep. Patrick Williams (D) – 44%.
*Rep. Kenny Cox (D) – 0%.
Who’s on first?
The brilliant political minds at the Washington Post have come up with their rankings of potential GOP presidential contenders for the election in 2016.
They qualify the rankings by saying it reflects standings as of today and note they could change as time goes on.
1. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
2. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
3. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
4. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
5. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.
6. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
7. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
8. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
9. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.
10. Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.
About Jindal, it was said: “We believe Jindal’s stock was probably a bit too high a year ago and is now a bit too low. His numbers in Louisiana still aren’t great, but they are better than earlier this year. Jindal’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion from Obamacare will be a feather is his cap among conservative presidential primary voters, and his reform message is potentially powerful, too.”
What poll was being used by these political experts? It was the poll Jindal had conducted for himself, which showed his approval rating at 50%.
Of course, two subsequent polls debunked that approval rating. One gave Jindal a 35% approval rating, and another one, an independent poll, had him with an approval rating of 28%. Wonder if the Washington Post had that information?
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.