WASHINGTON -- Sen. David Vitter could have a tough vote ahead. The Louisiana Republican, who weathered a prostitution scandal in 2007, is the target of a new bill that would prevent him, and other senators who have come under ethics scrutiny for soliciting prostitutes, from getting health insurance subsidies by virtue of his Senate employment.
A Democratic aide passed along the bill, which includes this passive-aggressive -- or aggressive-aggressive? -- legislative language:
(iv) LIMITATION. -- No employee contribution payable under section 8906 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to health insurance coverage under this subparagraph, may be provided on behalf of an individual who the relevant congressional ethics panel has probable cause to determine has engaged in the solicitation of prostitution.
The language wouldn't apply to any other senator, as none of the others have come under official scrutiny for engaging in such behavior. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has been accused by conservative papers of soliciting prostitutes, but the ethics committee has not weighed in.
Vitter apologized for committing "a serious sin" after the revelation.
Senate Majority Leader "Harry Reid is acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that," Vitter said in a statement to Politico. "This just shows how far Washington insiders will go to protect their special Obamacare exemption."
In a sign of just how personal the feud has become, Democrats have done the math to figure out just how much the government has contributed to the Vitter family's health insurance since 1999, basing its estimate on 75 percent of the standard monthly premium, which is the limit on the Hill. The total, provided to HuffPost: $112,624.88.
A Vitter spokesperson wasn't immediately available to respond.
If the subsidy is considered compensation, changing it mid-session would be unconstitutional; it could also be considered a bill of attainder, which is barred by the Constitution.
But Democrats don't appear to be trying to pass legislation in this case, so much as trying to punish Vitter for his nonstop agitation against Obamacare, particularly the provisions related to Hill staff subsidies.