Do Members of Congress Need a Housing Stipend?

The cost of living in Washington, D.C. might make it difficult for less wealthy members of Congress to pay rent or mortgages in their home state and the seat of power. Thus, a surprising voice has suggested housing assistance for Congress.

June 29, 2017, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Capitol Hill

Julie Clopper / Shutterstock

Scott Wong reports: "Just days before he resigns from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Monday that House and Senate lawmakers should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance — something he explained would help ease housing costs for members who can’t afford two mortgages or rents."

"The comments from the fifth-term lawmaker suggest that financial considerations were a big part of his surprise announcement in April that he was stepping down from Congress and relinquishing his Oversight Committee gavel," adds Wong.

Rep. Chaffetz also made the case that providing the stipend might save taxpayer money in the long run: "If he had a proper home in Washington rather than a cot in his office, Chaffetz said, he wouldn’t need to fly home every week on the taxpayers’ dime, and his wife, Julie, could visit more often."

Jack Holmes picked up on the news, offering a take for Esquire that picks up a point implied by Rep. Chaffetz's stance: "You shouldn't have to be rich to serve in public office." Whether the Rep. Chaffetz's legislative record reflects or betrays any such concern about less-than-wealthy Americans is a matter Holmes thinks is fair to debate.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 in The Hill

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