Democrats are basically powerless in the House, but they can force Republicans to take uncomfortable votes pretty regularly.
Using a procedural tool called the motion to recommit, Democrats forced Republicans to take a stand on whether or not members of Congress should receive federal health care benefits. The measure would have made repeal of the health care law contingent on more than half of all members of Congress opting out of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
It reads that repeal shall “not take effect unless and until the Director of the Office of Personnel Management certifies to the Congress that a majority of the Members of the House of Representatives and a majority of Members of the Senate have, as of the date that is 30 days after the date of initial passage of this Act in the respective House, voluntarily and permanently withdrawn from any participation, and waived all rights to participate, as such a Member in the federally funded Federal employees health benefits program (FEHBP) under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, effective with the first month after the date of execution of such a withdrawal and waiver.”
Republicans voted it down: it isn’t the most comfortable issue for them.
Moments before Dems introduced the motion, the DCCC blasted out to reporters a list of the 14 House Republicans who have opted out of their federal benefits. You can see the full list below. Many of those members made that decision after Dems pulled a similar trick, and pressed Republicans to announce publicly if they’d be accepting those benefits.
· Representative Nan Hayworth (NY-19), [Star Gazette, 1/6/11];
· Representative Paul Gosar (AZ-01), [Prescott Daily Courier, 1/06/11];
· Representative Bobby Schilling (IL-17), [ABC News, 11/17/10];
· Representative Mike Kelly (PA-03), [Think Progress, 11/18/10];
· Representative Joe Walsh (IL-08), [The Hill, 12/26/10];
· Representative Bill Johnson (OH-06), [Plain Dealer, 1/19/11] ;
· Representative Daniel Webster (FL-8), [Orlando Sentinel, 11/26/10];
· Representative Sandy Adams (FL-24), [Orlando Sentinel, 11/26/10];
· Representative Frank Guinta (NH-01), [Think Progress, 1/6/11];
· Representative Rich Nugent (FL-5), [POLITICO, 1/6/11];
· Representative David McKinley (WV-1), [Parkersburg News and Sentinel, 1/8/11];
· Representative Scott Rigell (VA-2), [Daily Press, 1/6/11];
· Representative Bob Dold (IL-10), [The Hill, 1/19/11];
· Representative Chris Gibson (NY-20), [Star Gazette, 1/6/11].
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.