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. Wilson

    More "let them eat cake," by this administration.
    $

    October 9, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Thomas

    Amanda Carpenter / Ted Cruz

    What is a Rat , Dose Cruz look like a Rat ?

    October 9, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. 333maxwell

    Those poor dears.. having to clean up after and take care of themselves for a change. Oh the indignity.

    I wonder if they noticed MOST Americans have much larger worries than s 'stinky gym'.

    And that is Congress's problem.. they can Identify the problem, but not ONE of them is willing to grab a mop and clean the mess up.

    October 9, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Southeast

    Right wingers will suffer too.

    October 9, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Anonymous

    According to what I've heard, these moochers are living in their offices and showering in the gyms, which saves
    them $10-20 thousand dollars per year.
    I also saw a report that put Congress' approval rating @5% now.

    I don't remember ever being so angry and feeling so helpless about politics.

    October 9, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. Anonymous

    @Wilson: "More let them eat cake by this administration"
    ---
    Either you can't read or you have a comprehension problem. The third alternative could be you are blinded by hate,
    but the article clearly says:

    "The decision to allow access to the members' gym was MADE BY SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER'S OFFICE".

    October 9, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Perry

    I hadn't noticed tha rat resemblance until now,

    October 9, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. RandyIA

    I've been asking around. Is the white house lawn getting mode, and the gardens taken care of. Is that essential?

    October 9, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

    @Wilson: "More let them eat cake by this administration"
    -
    Either you can't read or you have a comprehension problem. The third alternative could be you are blinded by hate,
    but the article clearly says:

    "The decision to allow access to the members' gym was MADE BY SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER'S OFFICE".
    ----------------
    It's called willful ignorance. It's what passes for right wing humor.

    BTW, Rush Limbaugh began his radio career as a late night comedian, who noticed that his ratings went up when he mocked Pres. Jimmy Carter. Rush is fundamentally a comedian. Unfortunately, most on the right wing seem mentailly unable to recognize satire and so they began to take him seriously. Rush has long since perfected his act.

    October 9, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Sniffit

    "More "let them eat cake," by this administration."

    Riiiiight...say hi to Little Pauly Ryan at the gym while he's doing his PSX90 (or w/e that nonsense is called) during his 3 hour lunch break.

    October 9, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Wilson

    @Anonymous

    @Wilson: "More let them eat cake by this administration"
    -
    Either you can't read or you have a comprehension problem. The third alternative could be you are blinded by hate,
    but the article clearly says:

    "The decision to allow access to the members' gym was MADE BY SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER'S OFFICE".
    ----------–
    I apologize for not clarifying that my statement applies to both sides.
    $

    October 9, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. HC

    It doesn't supprised me. That's what happen if you're keep feeding the PIG.

    October 9, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. HC

    They can shut down the goverment. Wonder what will happen if majority Americans do not pay the taxes ?

    October 9, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. dommy

    they keep it open because some members have personal items in there? um... you ever hear of the idea of removing those personal items?

    October 9, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Timmah

    Wait, so there are 2 different gyms? One for the Reps and one for their Staff? They are just too good to sweat with their own staff? If this isn't an example of excess and waste what is? Absurd.

    October 9, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. InTulsa

    RandyIA...let me guess you are a Tea Party supporter? I am a Republican and the Tea Party is killing our party and any chance we have of beating Hillary...so get used to saying "Thanks You President Clinton" for the next 8 years. RandyIA you are typical of the low-intelligency Tea Partiers...the word is "MOWED"

    October 9, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. jamesmadison

    @Wilson: Fail for reading comprehension.

    October 9, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Jerry

    The gym must be an "essential" expenditure... how essetial? Can't these people just go outside and walk for exercise? If they have personal items in the gym and the gym is closed... they can do without, just like so many other people are doing, now that they don't have that income coming in... If they can't, then the best thing that humans can do, they can't. That is adapt, by the way.

    October 9, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Joe Newman

    Oh My G-D.
    Brave soldiers giving their life's for this country and their families suffering due to Congress,
    and their gym is open.

    How about a million + people march on Washington.

    October 9, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Carla

    So how many people would that money feed during this shutdown, that's what should be the issue here. Why are they still getting paid when they are cutting services to children?

    October 9, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. bigplumber

    I voted for Obama 3 times i no romney was gonna shut down govment.

    October 9, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    Wilson

    More "let them eat cake," by this administration.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except it's not "this administration" using the House gym – it's your reichwing heros who are so enamored with themselves that they have photos all over their FB pages of them USING the House gym!

    October 9, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Phil

    Legislators actually believe they are America's Royalty and should be treated like Royalty. Hardships, or rules and regulations that apply to the common folks certainly can not be allowed to apply to the elite class.

    October 9, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    Jerry

    Can't these people just go outside and walk for exercise?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You're joking, right? If they did that they might have to face the very people to whom they've been sticking the screws and to whom they wish to stick it even more in order to give ever larger taxpayer $$$ to their deep pockted owners. Those poeple are angry – I mean, are you really so heartless that you want these poor little rethugs' delicate sensibilities to to be offended by the "unwashed masses"?! What's wrong with you, you "librul"?

    October 9, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. JENN

    I didn't even know they had their own special gym until now. And we're paying for it? I pay for my own gym membership, so should they!!! This makes me sick, not just that it's considered 'essential', but that it even exists in the first place.

    October 9, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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