Media Matters blows it again on describing whether congressional staff are covered by parts of health care bill

Media Matters claims: "Media falsely claim Obama and staff are 'exempt' from health care reform"

1) Politico and Roll Call and other publications did not claim that all congressional staff were exempt. What they reported was a discussion by the Congressional Research Service that some parts of the congressional staff were exempt. Media Matters quotes the text of the bill saying: "The term ''congressional staff'' means all full-time and parttime employees employed by the official office of a Member of Congress, whether in Washington, DC or outside of Washington, DC." The problem is that "the official office" doesn't cover all the congressional staff.

As I wrote in my piece for Fox News: "the Congressional Research Service memo believes that courts will not require “professional committee staff, joint committee staff, some shared staff, as well as potentially those staff employed by leadership offices” to go through the exchanges. President Obama and his family are also exempt from the law."

My reading of the media was that they were discussing whether these staff were covered by the state exchanges.

2) Then Media Matters goes on to claim that this provision was inserted by Republican members of Congress. There appears to be some debate on this, but where ever the truth lay on that, one thing is clear: the Republicans put forward amendments to ensure that all congressional staff would have to abide by the health care regulations and Democrats voted down that amendment. At first the explanation was that the Senate wanted to keep the bill clean because they didn't want to make the House vote again on the bill. By even after it turned out that the reconciliation bill would be changed by the Senate and a House revote was necessary, no amendment was made to "fix" the bill. This would seem to imply that the Democrats, not Republicans, liked the wording the way it was.

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