This article from Roll Call is causing a stir in D.C. this morning:
While most staffers will soon be required to purchase insurance plans created in the health care reform bill, their colleagues who work in leadership and committee offices may be off the hook.
A provision of the act — which President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday — requires only that “Members of Congress and congressional staff” have access to health care options created in the legislation. But the bill defines staff as employees who work in a Member’s “official office,” a term that does not appear to include staffers in committee and leadership offices….
[A] significant number of staffers may get to keep their current plan, if a recent Congressional Research Service memo is correct in speculating that the reform act excludes leadership and committee staffers from the requirement.
More than 160 staffers work in just the leadership offices of Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to LegiStorm, which tracks Congressional salaries. The exception could also extend to the rest of leadership and to the dozens of committees in the House and Senate.
Republicans are condemning the carve-out. Democrats are pointing out that the idea was first pitched by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
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