Talking to a member of Congress this morning, he tells me leadership staffers are sitting around dreaming up new, creative ways to lose this fight. He admits his cynicism is running high and is convinced Republican leadership staff are championing a loss as an “I told you so moment” to buttress a “should have listened to us” line.He is angry at his own side.More troublesome, he worries the GOP has convinced itself that the medical device tax will be one of the plays. He agrees with me that this is just a pay off to K Street and worries the staff, some of whom will depart to K Street in the next year, will work to bid up the continuing resolution to advance their employment prospects. Told you he was cynical.Where he and I disagree is the Vitter amendment. He supports it. I do not. Let me explain to you why I do not support the Vitter Amendment and we should oppose it.Way back in 2010, David Vitter “submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 4872”. It was the original form of what he offers now. But there was one big difference. Back in 2010, Vitter had this provision in his amendment:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a Member of Congress may not receive health care or medical treatment at any military medical treatment facility or at the Office of the Attending Physician.
In other words, back in 2010, Vitter’s amendment would have prevented Congress from using military physicians or setting up their own doctor’s office in the bowels of the Capitol. But the revised Vitter amendment at play now has removed that. Without that prohibition, Congress can simply jack up staff pay and create their own private hospital, which they assuredly will do.Conservatives should demand the House fight. A clean CR, the Vitter amendment, and the medical device tax are what surrender looks like. They’ve gone over the edge. Now they need to fight.Congressman Rigell is already on twitter with this nonsense:https://twitter.com/RepScottRigell/status/385046426901684224Congressman Rigell has not fought. He’s cried and whined the whole time wanting a clean CR. His colleagues have negotiated with themselves. If Congressman Rigell thinks this is what a fight looks like, he must close himself up alone in his bathroom for a few minutes and consider that well . . . we need not go there.