House GOP aides and the non-partisan Congressional Research Service believe health care legislation passed this week requires lawmakers to enroll in government-run insurance programs -- while exempting leadership staffers, many of whom were instrumental in crafting the bill.Republicans tried to delete the exemption, but were rebuffed.
Top staffers buzzed yesterday on an off-the-record Capitol Hill list-serv, citing the part of the mammoth legislation that deals with members of Congress. The federal government can only make available to members and their official staffs health plans created by the bill or offered through an exchange.
But a member's staff, in a subsection of the bill, is defined as "full-time and part-time employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC." CRS has interpreted that clause to mean the bill applies only to a personal office, not to committee staff or leadership staff.
This is what happens when, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi successfully championed, you pass a law "so that you can find out what is in it." Now we know--next time, read the bill first.