November 22nd, 2008
02:09 AM ET
4 years ago

Congressman to camp out in Capitol

Freshman lawmakers struggle to find affordable housing.
Freshman lawmakers struggle to find affordable housing.

(CNN) – Newly-minted Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, like many freshman members of Congress, is trying to get settled in before the new session begins. That means quickly getting assigned an office and finding a place to live when in Washington.

To defray costs on housing in DC, some lawmakers choose to room together and split rent. Others find small, basement apartments.  Low-end spaces in D.C. run about $1,400 per month.

But Chaffetz has another idea: a cot.

He plans to camp out in his office and shower at the gym in the House.

Watch: New housing for new lawmakers

Lucky for Chaffetz, he drew a low number in the office lottery this morning, which means he'll have his pick of available offices.

"I can look for ones with windows," says Chaffetz. "That's important when you're going be sleeping there."


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Simmy

    Bless his heart!

    November 22, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Franky

    That's funny. The rookies have to learn the hard way, LOL!

    November 22, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. DC Resident

    That's ludicrous to suggest that "low end" apartments cost $1400. He obviously didn't look very hard. Also has he considered roommates? What a stupid cheap ploy to show his constituents "I'm so not a part of the DC establishment that I don't even leave my office." For god's sake, shell out a little bit of your congressional income and rent an apartment so you can at least do your laundry!

    November 22, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Willy Brown

    So?

    November 22, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Brandon (Wilmington, NC)

    Smartest thing I've heard so far, nothing wrong with sleeping on a cot, until you can truly get settled in. Tip my hat to ya!

    November 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. concerned teen

    Wow, that's sad that even our leaders are having trouble finding affordable homes. Just goes to show that a weak economy hurts everyone. I hope that both sides will work together to find a solution to the economic crunch.

    November 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. MK

    I would suggest to new Congressman that he ditch the cot and get a good air matress. So far he is showing good fiscal judgement but sleeping on a cot is no match for an air bed. He has a lot of work to do and he needs a good night sleep!

    November 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. T

    Can someone stop Mayor Bloomberg from increasing the fares on buses and subways ?

    November 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Carl Justus

    They should charge him rent, just like any other place he would live. We did not build a motel for those we send to Washington and we should be reimbursed if they are going to use it as a motel.

    November 22, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Carl Justus

    They should charge him rent, just like any other place he would live. We did not build a motel for those we send to Washington and we should be reimbursed if they are going to use it as a motel.

    Show me where I already said that, please.

    November 22, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Luigi ina California

    I like this guy. How practical. Thanks for not sticking us taxpayers with some huge expense bill.

    November 22, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. A sad day

    Lets see how long it takes them to forget who they are working for,us or the lobbyist with payoff money.

    November 22, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. Wilson Fox

    fake dedication doesnt' replace common sense

    November 22, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. Nick

    haha...you know it's bad when even the Congressmen are homeless

    well...at least his commute will be short

    November 22, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. katiec

    Realize the cost of living in DC, and congressman pay isn't that
    high, but when they add all the perks, benefits and outlandish
    pensions, cannot feel too sorry for them.
    The majority of politicans are weatthy. Our system is set up
    so that they would not be able to run otherwise.
    And, when they run for office they are well aware of the expenses.
    There are probably very few that this will cause a "hardship" for.

    November 22, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Anonymous

    I will vote for this congressman, he knows how to save money.

    November 22, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Rick Layng

    Rep. Dennis Rehberg of Montana has been living in his office for years. He has showered at the gym, as well. Maintains that Montana is his residence.

    November 22, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Bob

    I'm not from Utah, and I've never heard of this congressman before, but I will say that I can identify with him. This is someone with a good head on his shoulders and an obvious streak of independence. Some will criticize him, but I believe that his ingenuity will not only decrease stress on himself and his family, it will push him to work hard for the American people he represents. I hope others follow suit.

    November 22, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Juan Grain

    They should all sleep there.

    November 22, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. Dylan, Los Angeles

    Sounds like a plan...yet having a private gym/shower for House members only is hardly roughing it.

    November 22, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. joe

    they are paid enough to do that, congress complained about the private planes of the big three executives, the is fat to trimmed in many places, we are in a crisis, i suggest brown bagging, as i have to do

    November 22, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Jerry Tinianow

    Former Ohio Congressman Ron Mottl was bunking in his congressional office back in the Seventies. Cong.-elect Chaffetz is admirable but he is definitely not breaking new ground here.

    November 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Barbara in NC

    Gosh – wish I could find a job that pays that well and provides good health, dental, and eye care, AND let me live free in my office. I could spend a lot and help the economy, even while maintaining a second home in some other state. he he he he he

    November 22, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. i like this guy.

    i may vote republican in the next round if this guy represents the GOP.

    November 22, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. strong

    Poor thing.

    Better than sleeping outside.

    November 22, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
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