The Vitter Protocol

Welcome Aboard Congressional Staffers!

As I type, the recent Republican Vitter Amendment to the House Continuing Resolution to fund government was shot down by the Senate, as the GOP (and my 12 year old) knew it would be. Therefore, absent some miracle, Government will be shut down at midnight.  However, it’s failure is not the story.  The real story is how the GOP offered up it’s own employees (Congressional Staffers) as sacrificial lambs on the unholy alter of the Tea Party.  Simply put, the Vitter Amendment would require Congressional Staffers to obtain healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act, without the benefit of employer subsidies, unlike other Americans.  Essentially, it would create a sub-class of mandated enrollees forced to abide by special rules designed to adversely impact them.  The Staffers would receive no federal health benefits from FEHB AND no subsidies; a very large pay cut for these employees who average between $37k and $60k a year unlike their Republican bosses so willing to sacrifice them to get out of the mess they created.  Obviously, this was either 1) intended as a poison pill or 2) written by an idiot.  You choose the more likely of the two.

By any measure, there is a great deal of irony in the story other than the obvious.  Many of these same staffers have been responsible for engineering attacks on the federal workforce for years including pay cuts, no raises, furlough, and even the shut down itself.  Many federal employees could not help but warmly smile when we read the Vitter Amendment, almost hoping it would happen.  It did not and that is OK.  However, these Congressional Staffers should heed the lesson all federal employees have come to learn the hard way.  Your bosses do not care about you in any regard.  Vitter’s management style is very clear.  Sacrifice your employees for your own sake to get you out of a situation you created.  Arguably, a Capitalistic approach.

And, perhaps the greatest irony of all?  All federal employees, including these Congressional Staffers, are far more likely to leave their federal positions now thanks’ to the Affordable Care Act that makes health insurance portable.  Health insurance is one of the most cited reasons for federal employees to remain in federal service.  Not any more.