No shutdown for House gym rats
October 9th, 2013
11:03 AM ET
6 months ago

No shutdown for House gym rats

Updated 10/9/2013 at 11:50am

Washington (CNN) - The government shutdown has stopped critical services for countless Americans.

But fortunately for members of the House of Representatives – the men and women who helped cause the shutdown – access continues to their taxpayer-subsidized Capitol Hill gym.

A senior Republican House aide confirmed to CNN Tuesday that while nobody is currently staffing the gym, House members are being allowed in for workouts and showers.

The gym is being cleaned, but towel service has been suspended.

House staffers aren't so lucky. Their gym has been deemed off limits for the duration of the shutdown.

Another House aide told CNN the decision to allow access to the members' gym was made by Speaker John Boehner's office, which is responsible for overseeing the shutdown on the House side of the Capitol.

Several House members have been known to sleep in their offices and shower in the private Hill gym – which is hidden away in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building - when Congress is in session.

A spokeswoman for the Capitol Architect's Office tells CNN that members get access keys to the gym when they join, and that some members keep personal items in the gym. The spokeswoman added that allowing members access to such personal items factored into the decision to allow continued access to the gym as well.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, brought the issue to the House floor on Wednesday, arguing that "some of the most fanatic" lawmakers in the shutdown debate are regular users of the gym.

"Mr. Speaker if you and the House Republicans are serious and not cynical about the shutdown, then shut down the House gym until this madness ends," he said.

Speaking to CNN Wednesday morning, Republican Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida said that "for people to raise issues over the gym is somewhat petty," although Southerland said he does not have a gym membership.

The House gym's exemption from the shutdown was first reported in the progressive blog ThinkProgress.

–CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. BillVB

    If Boehner wants to get serious about cutting why hasn't he proposed cutting Congress's pay and perks; it's easy to cut where it doesn't personally hurt so make it personal and get on with it. But the reality is that Boehner and the Good Old Boys are just playing politics without any real concern about the American people or the future of this country – and they are trashing our economy and running up the national debt with this power play, and wrecking our image before the whole world. This is the absolute sickest group of individuals who have ever gotten themselves into leadership positions in our government and I hope and pray we can get rid of them soon before we've spiralled so far under their imposed destruction we might never recover. This isn't just dirty politics, it's destructive politics – we need elected officials who will work together and make this country strong – but what we have with Boehner and the Boys are people who aren't interested in making our country strong but are only interested in carrying out their planned agenda (and this has been planned for years!) to impose their will on the American public with indifference. There are people making money on this fiasco, and Boehner is one of them!

    October 9, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. marmedmil

    When did Cruz become Speaker of the House? Seems like he's running the show. How does John "the puppet" Boehner feel about that?

    October 9, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Ol' Yeller

    @everybody
    I'd like to point out we actually have conservative here who understands an undeniable fact fact about the republicant party...
    You go, InTulsa.
    "I am a Republican and the Tea Party is killing our party and any chance we have of beating Hillary...."

    October 9, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Brad

    "The gym is being cleaned, but towel service has been suspended".

    I hate to see them suffer like that!

    October 9, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. ST

    Unbelievable! These congress people always blame the President going golfing in order to be fit, while themselves have a hidden gym where they go to do the same?

    October 9, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. LOL

    Seems "petty" to not allow tax payers access to the national parks they've funded for decades either, but there you have it. Just more of the "This shouldn't apply to us, just you" attitude of the corporate backed elitists and hypocrites who make up the majority of legislators and politicians who turned a once promising country and its people into a hopeless and hapless joke. Go Capitalism! Yet, we continue to pick sides like it's a Ford versus Chevy, or great taste/less filling debate and the right Republican, Democrat, or what have you, will magically fix things, instead of coming to the stark and rational realization this country is on its last legs and politicians aren't the solution. Can we now change the flag to picture of an Ostrich with its head stuck in the ground?

    To simply call the American government dysfunctional and manipulating is not only kind but the definition of obtuse and I’m sure if the founding fathers even sensed this could be the result of their actions, the Constitution never would have been signed and we'd all be British today. In the end, probably all for the better.

    October 9, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. wut!?!

    ". . . access continues to their taxpayer-subsidized Capitol Hill gym."

    If the gym is always open why is there so much FAT in the government?

    October 9, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Rob

    There is a gym for House members and ANOTHER gym for House staffers? Are you kidding me??????? What else do taxpayers foot the bill for ... while so many of these congressmen have the gall to point fingers at everyday Americans and deny them access to healthcare and jobs and go as far as calling Americans lazy! Unreal the entitlement.

    October 9, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Rwethereyet?

    It's good that the gym remiains open for our elected officials. how else do you expect them to dodge constituent's demands for progress? And they are working on getting us in shape by starving us and giving us the run around. I feel better already, thanks Congress!

    October 9, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Siestasis

    What a bunch of losers. And losers they will be hopefully in the next congressional election in 2014

    October 9, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. JRM

    Nothing is going to hurt the members of Congress. While parks and monuments, and other functions of gov't that really matter, are being shut – their beloved perks (and paychecks) remain available.

    I swear this country is like their private game of Monopoly

    October 9, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. FedUpWithIt

    Anyone who thinks our alleged represenative to the federal government have on iota of concern for American workers or American families are kidding themselves. All these overpaid, unproductive gits care about are their personal comforts. So the rest of the nation suffers and the US is condemned in the eyes of the world: so what? As long as the DC gang keeping getting paid and wallowing in their luxury the rest of us can go hang.

    October 9, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What a tragedy it would be if a dumbbell fell on Eric Cantor's head!

    October 9, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    I think that any one of them who volunteers to have their paycheck withheld or donated to charity, but still comes to this gym needs to have a big scarlet "H", for hypocrite, branded onto their forehead.

    Seriously, though. There is something wrong with this picture. The Tea Party furloughs everyone in government who is "non-essential" while keeping this "essential" perk open and still getting paid. Personally, I don't care whether they close it up or not because that is not going to change the hypocrisy that it demonstrates.

    In fact, closing it up now would be worse than allowing it to continue as it has been for the past week. It would be an admission of being willfully hypocritical. It's one thing not to notice it when you do it. It's another matter to see it ahead of time, but barge ahead and hope no one notices.

    October 9, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Jeff

    But it's ok for the president to play golf and for his family to go on vacations. People need to quit taking sides because both parties abuse the system. The President is the leader of America, he needs to lead and instead of making accuses and pointing the finger.

    October 9, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. JustaGuy

    Basically, both parties win. The average Joe American taxpayers lose!

    October 9, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. xnyer

    They need to keep the gym open, John Boehner needs to use the tanning bed

    October 9, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Rwethereyet?

    IThe gym at the Capitol building will remain open, That includes access to the Congressional tanning beds. We need to keep Boehnerwith that healthy, natural orenge glow that people from his planet are so fond of. We're only his earthly slaves, you know.

    October 9, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Harry Hendrickson

    Throughout this discourse, some have failed to realize that the process of opposition to principle, in play here, is good for America. We need to return to austerity and balance, not remain a nation of debt and leadership by just the Administration and Administration yes men and women.

    October 9, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. GK

    So Congress can get access to their personal things stored in a government building, but people who own houses oon government land aren't allowed to get their things?

    October 9, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. dastreagus

    113th congress will pay

    October 9, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Oh??? That's where lyin Ryan has been hiding while running his 2 miniute mile!!!!!

    October 9, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    Oh the horror!!! No clean towels!

    Shut it down!!! Now!

    How dare those that are responsible for this mess still get their perks!

    October 9, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
1 2