Friday, February 11, 2011

Congressional Living Quarters

The latest stink coming out of Washington is the story of Congressmen and women using their offices in the capitol as their living quarters. Apparently, an ethics watchdog group has been criticizing this practice which representatives have been doing for years. It's no surprise considering the incredibly expensive rates around Washington and Georgetown, and I don't really blame reps like Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for doing it. However, there is something unseemly and inappropriate about it as well. Yet, there is an easy fix for this problem - and it's one which could be a positive move for both parties and the area.

The Democratic and Republican parties should go on a bipartisan fund raising campaign to raise money for the construction of a 535-unit townhouse development. There would be one official residence for each member of Congress, and this would alleviate the need for them to rent in expensive areas. They would be responsible for utilities and up-keep, but there would be no rent or mortgage. Each unit could be a 2-3 bedroom which would hopefully accommodate most families, and the single location could do much to foster closer relations among Congressional members because they would be neighbors.

Additionally, this project could be a great boon to the D.C. area, as it could be located in a economically struggling area. The infusion of construction jobs and later retail neighborhood development could significantly revitalize an area of the country that is in desperate need of stimulus. The entire area could become an example of all that is possible with urban revitalization.

Think about it. I'm calling my congressmen today.


Anonymous said...

Why is this "unseemly and inappropriate" at all?

mmazenko said...

An office and a place of government is not a "living quarters." There should be a separate place for work and rest/leisure. And the image of our congressmen padding around the capitol, and their offices, in their boxer shorts and robe is just not what I want to picture in my government.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Well, and as a taxpayer, I don't want my congressperson sleeping on the desk like a crazy hobo. How do they shower? Dare I ask?

Anonymous said...

Different sensibilities, I guess. These guys get paid plenty. They can rent a place in town if they want.

When I worked in DC we had a mathematician in our office who sometimes just slept in his office if he was there working late rather than commute home at night. It was no big deal and we got a laugh out of it.

I'm sure the congressional office building is equipped with showers and they have nice sofas. Think of it as efficient use of resources. It just doesn't bug me, but I do hope they dress before they take appointments.

Jordan Crawford said...

One of the key points that this "watchdog" group hounded on was the tax applications. They felt that the congressmen and women should be forced to pay taxes on their offices as if the offices were official places of residence. And in downtown DC, a place as large as a congressional office could go for as much as several thousand a month. So the taxes could be quite significant.