Skip to comments.(Freshman) Congressman sleeps on cot to save cash (Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah)
Posted on 01/09/2009 1:48:40 PM PST by Pyro7480
In a time of economic turmoil, most Americans are being frugal with their money, but one freshman congressman is taking cost-cutting to a new level.
Newly elected Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, opted out of renting an apartment in Washington, instead deciding on a cot in his office every night.
"I will save $1,500 a month doing this," Chaffetz said. "I get paid a very handsome salary, no doubt about it, but you know, I've got expenses and a future for my kids and my family, too."
In a stroke of luck, Chaffetz was one of the few freshmen members of Congress to have the chance at an office with a window when he drew number six out of 55 in the office lottery.
His office in the Longworth House Building comes with a half-bathroom, a closet that fits a cot, and what he calls his "breakfast nook" where he stores Fig Newtons, granola bars and mixed nuts.
The building also has a gym with a shower room, where Chaffetz starts his day about 5:45 each morning....
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
Unlike other representatives who feel entitled to government issues Mercedes.
He is from Utah. It is likely to be genuine. I recall another story with the same subject quite a few years ago.
$1500 a month is substantial to an honest congressman, and it sounds as if he knows that this may not be a lifetime job.
When now-South Carolina Gov Mark Sanford was elected to Congress back in ‘94, he did the same thing.
He said he wanted to save money AND not have to move his family to DC.
Probably not a publicity stunt. But his accomodations are not the most comfortable or peaceful - especially when the cleaning crews come in later in the evening.
I think congress-folks ought to live in dorms. And not the lavish athletic dorm, just your basic run-of-the-mill dormitory. And only for their limited terms. 1 term for the Senate, 3 terms for the House.
“I think congress-folks ought to live in dorms. And not the lavish athletic dorm, just your basic run-of-the-mill dormitory. And only for their limited terms. 1 term for the Senate, 3 terms for the House.”
SOME PLACE LIKE BANCROFT HALL, IN MY OPINION...
That would be the entire congress.
It’s got to be illegal. Is it zoned for human habitation?
How can Chaffetz even sleep at night? LOL..
Makes a good point there...
I’d say genuine. The fact is DC areas that are habitable for those not on welfare are expensive as hell.
House Reps make around 160k or so per year as I recall.
18K for a studio apartment, then the House Reps mortgage for his ‘home’....THEN all the family and life related costs, many doubled because the House rep is in DC, the family is back in the home district...its probably genuine for a freshman congresscritter.
They haven’t had the time to learn how to ‘play the game’ in short.
Thats the problem in my view. The job has perks, the job is important, but we don’t pay enough, and we demand saints in return. Then when the congresscritter falls short, we go nuts on them.
Catch 22 of our own making. JMHO. I know I’d love to run for the House. I also know my wife would kill me because of the pay cut, and all the added expenses of maintaining two homes.
When Newt Gingrich’ freshmen congressmen went to Washington they were belittled for doing just what he does.
More power to him, and I do not know him.
de Texas Fossil
No stunt to me....
This is the same man who defeated Chris Cannon, a pro-illegal/anti-American GOP incumbent, in the primary.
Chaffetz was outspent 7 to 1 by Cannon...and Chaffetz did not have the support of the GOP establishment and the Anti-America Collective of Communists...er US Chamber of Commerce.
Anyone who can win a campaign by underspending a pro-illegal candidate is alright by me
Probably a stunt, to a large extent. He could rent a room in a house on Capitol Hill for less than $1000/month. A lot of Congressmen who are less than wealthy go in together and rent a house to share.
DC's zoning laws do not apply to the Capitol.
I have a suggestion. Whey don’t we get congressmen to telecommute?
I suggested this almost 10 years ago, to some of my Okie friends.
It would remove our congressment from the Lobbyist in DC and make them more likely to support their constituents. Now that is a novel idea. Technology today can make that happen, there are encription methods to make their voting secure.
Think what that would do to the center of power in the U.S.
If they wanted to play in the cesspool called DC once a Quarter for a few days that would be OK.
This is the guy who knocked out the illegal alien loving Chris Cannon in the primary. He’s a good, solid guy with real leadership potential. A friend of mine went to school with him. Utah is lucky to have such a representative.
Sounds like the real deal to me......how refreshing!
A true fiscal conservative!
If I recall, Dick Armey did the same thing.
That’s $1,000 less per month to spend on himself and his familiy.
Why do we care how he goes about his business?
If they had to live in run of the mill dorms, they WOULD CHOOSE to have term limits.
There was a thread last year on open records laws
I found some older stories in the Congressional Archives that list some other issues as well.
But the advantage is that the cleaning crews do come in, as opposed to all the apartments (and now a house) which I had to clean myself :-)
I completely understand him in this aspect. He is always at work and all the services are free. Makes sense, as long as he doesn't need a large personal space for hobbies. You can put that $1,500/mo to a very good, long-lasting use instead of burning that cash on a rent.
The cleaning crews can be easily worked around by, for example, going out for a dinner when they come to clean - and he can always talk to them to make sure they come at a fixed time, since other (empty) offices do not care when they are cleaned.
Too big. Congress would convert the space into luxury suites.
Maybe in the future, but Congress is one of the least tech-savvy institutions in the country. As of a few years ago, they didn't even allow laptops on the floor of the Senate, for example. There are a lot of old guys in Congress who like to do business the old-fashioned way.
And, to be honest, politicians like being in DC- good restaurants, lots of fun events at the Kennedy Center, beautiful, sophisticated women to have as a "DC Wife." It's much more appealing than working out of your local office in some strip mall in Podunk, Idaho.
Once the dems find out , they will call health dept. to complain that his orfice isn’t a hotel!
I understand why they like DC, but if we had the right representation in DC they would not want to be there.
It is not necessary for things to be this corrupted.
Lord Acton said it, “Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” (I am really not a fan of Lord Acton or Lord anybody—but the quote is accurate—then and now)
Jefferson understood this when this nation was founded and railed about the corruption of the cities.
I love living in fly over country in the middle of the “Big Nothing” (as the hunters from Dallas call it) in Texas.
I’m sorry. This is bogus jive crappola.
So someone decides he doesn’t want to spend $500/month for a room in the area so he decides to live in his place of employment. Since he’s congressional rep, it’s ok?
Tell me, what would happen if servicemembers assigned to the DC area decided that they’re just going to live in the Pentagon, the Crystal City/Rosslyn/Ballston offrice buildings to save money? They’d be told to “GET OUT.”
That’s what this $174k/year congressman should be told.
There’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap. Frugal would be getting a small studio appartment to sleep in during weeknights. Cheap is sleeping on a cot in your office.
An office is provided as a place to conduct the people’s business, not as a temporary bedroom. Turning an office room into a makeshift bedroom creates extra work for the janitorial staff, leaves a bad impression for visitors, and creates awkward situations for the Congressman’s staffers who are often expected to work late nights or early mornings. Also, you can bet that the staffers, who make much less money and are also expected to travel between the home district and DC, are not afforded the same opportunity to save on housing costs.
He hasn't been there long enough to scope that out, I'm sure but I think the cot thing won't last more than a year.
“...The building also has a gym with a shower room, where Chaffetz starts his day about 5:45 each morning....”
Lies, lies. There is no real work done there. Never has. Never will be.
Why do you think our under-achievers are so eager to get the position?
It’s genuine. This was featured on ABCWorldNewsTonight a few days ago. They (the libs) find it incredible. Dedicated public servant with integrity is an oddity to them.
He has a folding cot, so his bedroom is out of sight most of the day.
In that case, I am tempted to take my cot and set it up in the hallway.
But he gets to work nice and early:)
It’s genuine. He’s quite a guy.
“Too big. Congress would convert the space into luxury suites.”
Hahahaha. Too true. And think of the boat slips for the yachts...
That's kind of a chicken and the egg type of problem- the people who don't want to be in DC at all aren't even going to run for office. You're left with the type of people for whom being a bigshot in a place like DC holds at least some appeal.
“Chaffetz’s father was briefly married to Kitty Dukakis and Chaffetz has an older half brother, John Dukakis.” — Wikipedia
A valid point- there are plenty of staffers making $30K a year or less who figure out how to live in DC.
Frankly, this seems a little unseemly- our Capitol should not be a flophouse.
I am talking about people we need in Washington, not people who want to live in that cespool.
Congressmen, and their staffs, work very long hours. Whether it's productive work is debatable, but most of them are working by 7 and put in a 10-12 hour day.
Plenty of us enjoy living in DC, many of us have nothing to do with politics, either :)
Having to be here for Inauguration Day may take some of the shine off of living here, though.
Lighten up. People making $30K per year in DC are generally the second income in the family, not the primary. And they aren’t expected to fly home 2000 miles or so every weekend to meet with constituents.
Things like this were a regular occurence in the House GOP back in the 90’s.
A lot of the lower-level political staffers are single and are working their first job out of college.
And they arent expected to fly home 2000 miles or so every weekend to meet with constituents.
Congressmen have a travel budget when going back and forth on Congressional business.