- Some members of the US Congress have taken to sleeping in their offices due to the high cost of living in Washington DC
- Some others however want the practice banned, as they described it as being unsanitary and undignified
- US Congress members receive a salary of $174,000 a year, and no housing allowance
A rising number of US Congress members are blaming decade-long stagnant salaries and Washington’s steep cost of living, as they have taken to sleeping in their Capitol Hill offices.
The lawmakers-turned-professional squatters have reportedly adopted the practice in order to save some money during the work week, The Nation reports.
NAIJ.com gathers that one such lawmaker, Rep Dan Donovan (R-Staten Island) stated that the reason he is able to serve in Congress while still paying his New York City housing costs is because of the cot that he sleeps on, which is placed in a tiny alcove in his office.
He stated: “Washington is too expensive. If we go to the point where you have to rent or have to buy [in DC], then only millionaires would be members of Congress. I don’t think that was the intent of our Founding Fathers.”
However, some other lawmakers want the practice banned; as they described it as being unsanitary and undignified. They argue that the move is violating IRS and congressional ethics rules, and are expected to introduce legislation in the House as soon as this month to prohibit politicians from turning their offices into makeshift sleeping quarters.
One of those spearheading the proposed bill, Rep Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) stated: “Look, it’s unhealthy. It’s nasty. I wouldn’t want to be entertained in somebody’s bedroom.
“Sleeping in your office is not proper. You get free cable, free electricity, free janitorial, free security, no rent; it’s a heck of a deal. It probably comes out to $25,000 to $30,000 a year that isn’t claimed at tax time.”
Those who engage in the practice do it because of money; as US Congress members receive a salary of $174,000 a year, a figure that hasn’t increased in nearly a decade.
They also receive no housing allowance while working in a city where a sparse one-bedroom pad can start at $2,000 a month. Meanwhile, they also have to pay to maintain a residence in their home states.
Their colleagues in the Senate fare better however; as they take home a paycheck of $193,400/annum, which is $20,000 more than what congressmen earn.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that an eight-member US congressional delegation visited Senate President Bukola Saraki as part of its visit to assess the destruction caused by Boko Haram terrorists as well as strengthen US-Nigeria relations.
The delegation was led by Senator Christopher who is a member of the appropriations, foreign relations, judiciary, small business and entrepreneurship, and ethics committees.
The delegation also included Sen Gary Peters (Democrat-Michigan); Sen Michael Bennet (Democrat-Colorado); and Rep Lisa Rochester (Democrat-Delaware).
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