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Spat over Obamacare amendment may doom Senate energy efficiency bill


September 17, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
A comprehensive, bipartisan energy efficiency bill may become the victim of a particularly nasty fight over Obamacare. The problems began when Sen. David Vitter, R-La., stalled Senate consideration of the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 1392) by insisting on a vote on an amendment that would bar members of Congress and other government officials from receiving subsidies for purchase of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 

Vitter’s tactics prompted Democrats to draft a possible amendment that would deny subsidies to lawmakers if there is "probable cause" they solicited prostitutes, Politico reported. In 2007, Vitter’s phone number came up in an investigation of the so-called "D.C. Madam" and the senator publicly apologized for "a very serious sin."

Democrats’ tactics prompted Vitter to ask the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and their staffs for attempted bribery "by proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties members’ personal healthcare benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes." Vitter said Reid "is acting like an old-time Vegas Mafia thug, and a desperate one at that."

S. 1932, sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has no provisions dealing with Obamacare or health care in general. 
 

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