You have to give it to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, he has some serious chutzpah.
The retiring Utah Republican is calling for taxpayers to cough up an additional $2,500 per month for members of Congress as a housing stipend. That would be a total of $30,000 per year for all 535 lawmakers.
According to the outgoing House Oversight Committee chairman, it’s just too hard for legislators to get by on their existing salaries and perks and an extra 2.5 K would help with paying for two mortgages or the rent on a pad in Imperial Washington.
While this story is so audacious that at first, this humble author thought that it was from a satirical site like The Onion, I’m afraid that it’s true. Chaffetz made his comments during an interview with The Hill.
— The Hill (@thehill) June 27, 2017
The Hill is reporting “Chaffetz calls for $2,500 legislator housing stipend”:
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.
“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview in his Capitol office, where he sleeps whenever he’s in Washington. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”
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.
He officially will resign from the House on Friday, then explore opportunities in the private sector.
“Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here in Washington, D.C.,” Chaffetz said. “I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington if you’re going to expect people to spend hundreds of nights a year here. …
The congressional salary is $174,000 a year with great benefits.
Chaffetz won’t be crying the poor mouth for long. He should have a lucrative career as a lobbyist in his future and perhaps a posh apartment on K Street that he won’t have to crack open his own wallet for.
It’s really a bit much for folks to stomach such a request when many Americans are being crushed economically by low-paying jobs, skyrocketing healthcare costs and uncertain futures for their children. It’s hard to see how this will generate much sympathy for those outside the great Beltway swamp with the peasants already in full revolt against the political elite.
The departing Chaffetz’s farewell comments are another strong argument for term limits as if there aren’t enough already.