Senate Democrats are deciding whether to resurface Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) past prostitution scandal if he continues to press for a vote on his Obamacare amendment, Politico reported Friday.
Democrats are considering bringing to a vote a plan denying government contributions to lawmakers’ health care plans if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes, according to draft legislation obtained by Politico. That plan echoes Vitter’s amendment, which would repeal federal contributions to legislators’ health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Vitter was caught up in the so-called “D.C. Madam” scandal in 2007. His telephone number appeared in the phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, an escort service accused of running a prostitution ring. Since the records were dated before he ran for the Senate, the Louisiana Republican was not found guilty of ethics violations.
Sources told Politico that the plan was discussed at a Senate Democratic lunch Thursday, but it is unclear which senator would propose the plan or if it would ever come to a vote.
In a statement to Politico, Vitter said the plan shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his caucus are doing anything it takes to protect the federal subsidies for their health care.
“Harry Reid is acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that,” Vitter said. “This just shows how far Washington insiders will go to protect their special Obamacare exemption.”
Below is an excerpt of the proposal, obtained by the Huffington Post:
(iv) LIMITATION. — No employee contribution payable under section 8906 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to health insurance coverage under this subparagraph, may be provided on behalf of an individual who the relevant congressional ethics panel has probable cause to determine has engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.