Defeated members of Congress moved from offices to cubicles
December 1st, 2010
03:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Defeated members of Congress moved from offices to cubicles

Washington (CNN) - It was a moving day deadline for members of Congress who won't be coming back in January, and most seemed to be meeting Wednesday's timetable to pack up their prestigious offices and move to relatively humble cubicles to finish their final days on Capitol Hill.

But some are finding the temporary quarters a little demoralizing as staffers try to complete legislative duties from cubicles and banquet tables set up in the Rayburn Office Building cafeteria. Others are relegated to spending their December days sharing big, empty hearing rooms.

"I don't want to say it's a little depressing, but you have your one office space, your one chair and your one phone, so it's uh, you definitely feel like you're on your way out," said Matthew Garnier, a staffer with Rep. J. Gresham Barrett. The four-term Republican lost his bid for South Carolina governor and is leaving Congress.

Others said it doesn't matter where their workspace is located, that they still have a job to do. Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who is staying, visited with a departing colleague, California's Diane Watson, one of about 70 House members moving on.

Slaughter told CNN "Look, it doesn't matter where we sit. What matters is what we do, and how we represent our people in the country. We all know that."

On the other hand, there's a certain amount of multi-tasking underway as staffers take advantage of their remaining time on Capitol Hill to plot their future career path. Garnier told CNN that "in between issues, people are very much looking for other jobs," he laughed, "I mean, wouldn't you? Come January most people here are unemployed if they haven't, so, yes, it's a simultaneous policy and job search.

And Garnier emphasized there's room for both, saying "just being on the way out doesn't mean you can't focus on where you need to be."

Meantime, as part of a traditional post-election shuffle of assigned offices among members of Congress, staffers are marking certain furniture, chairs and decorations to "save" for those claiming the space of those departing.

Filed under: 2010 • Congress
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    Maybe now the Democrats will understand that the historic 2008 victory celebrations can start winding down. As awful as that seems, now it is about the other 350 million Americans outside of Washington DC.

    December 1, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. Bill in California

    WAS THE THRILL WORTH IT? Thumbing your noses to the AMERICAN voters may have seemed gallant at the time. But now it's time to fall on those swords for your esteemed leaders. Don't worry about them, they still have an office...and a job.

    December 1, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. John N Florida

    If they don't start cooperating up there, it's gonna be 2 and Through for 70.

    December 1, 2010 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. DIANA

    Don't get too comfortable Republicans, 2012 is getting close. The way they're starting, (not letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire and letting unemployment benefits expire) they won't be in their new offices for long.

    December 1, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Robert Minichino

    If they had not tried to shove their policies down the throats of the American people they might have still had their offices.

    December 1, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    Gee, the princes of Capital Hill are finding their drab, grey cubicles depressing? Oh i feel SO bad for them. C'mon guys – millions of Americans sit in cubicles and do their job every day. Yup – it is actually possible to live and work without caterers, chauffers, or matching drapes behind a humungous mahogany desk. And millions more Americans would gladly trade what they are doing now for those (or any) cubicles and a paying job to go with.

    Maybe i'll send my congressperson a poster for their cubicle wall... it has a kitten on it and says, "Hang in there"...

    December 1, 2010 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. DanteX

    I can see the bigoted pinched-faced racist Conservatives effecting grid-lock for the next two years.

    The Liberals and Progressives of this Nation better seize-upon "those Second Amendment 'remedies' " that all the bigoted and racist Conservative right-wing Fascists seem to think is available to and belong ONLY to them and that they alone can utilize because when the NEXT Civil War comes -and it IS GOING TO COME- I am going to be ready. I am glad I have mine – THAT is for SURE.

    December 1, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Ted

    ....Good Riddance to Big Shot Tax Spenders....You don't look so Big Shot now.......Catch a Greyhound to S.F....Take Reid and Witch Pelosi with you....Obama has "shovel ready" jobs up animal poo and trash on streets and parks......Wear gloves...lots of AIDS and STDs there....

    December 1, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Leah

    In the old days they did NOT have offices.
    The senators sat at their desks in the Senate chamber and did their work,
    and did the congressmen in the House.
    I think it's time to go back to that tradition, then they would all be in the chamber when other senators and congressfolks are in there giving their speeches – as it is now they don't hear each other talk unless they turn the TV on to Cspan.

    December 1, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Rick

    Too freaking bad. Or as Obama would say, You lost – GET OUT.

    December 1, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Orlando Patriot

    THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!!! For those politicians remaining remember – you are on probation!! If you continue to enact laws and change things AGAINST what the American people want then get ready to work in a cubicle in your final days too!! One thing that politicians seem to forget: YOU WORK FOR US!! WE DO NOT WORK FOR YOU!! Enough said...........

    December 1, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Brickell Princess

    It is such a shame that Americans are so short sighted that a third party was not elected into power. When will Americans come to terms with the fact that neither the Republican nor the Democratic parties represent the interests of the American people? That both parties are behaving like royalty.

    The system is not broken, it just doesn't work. But Americans live in such fear, such ignorance that you all lack the will to change this government and kick all fire all these incompetent clowns.

    December 1, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. T'sah from Virginia

    Wow, does that mean my office is bigger than theirs????

    Listen to the HATERS here – Relishing in a FALSE HOPE that this move is going to be PERMANENT!!! The RepubliCAN'Ts are already MESSING UP – thinking the election of 2010 is all about THEM. Don't get too comfortable – I already hear CHEERS of JOY when we get it back because in reality – it's NOT about the RIGHT and the TEA PARTY and RICH, it's about the Middle Class and the REAL foundation of this country!!!

    Let's continue to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD with our CURRENT LEADER, President Obama and we need to WATCH OUT for the backstabbing RepubliCAN'Ts!!

    December 1, 2010 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. a little sad

    Interesting. What's Murkowski doing?

    December 1, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. tjm

    Aww poor babies have to work out of cubes and sub-standard office conditions like the rest of the people in the US. Somehow I just can't find any sympathy for them.

    December 1, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Ken

    I read recently that nearly 50% of the House of Representatives were millionaires. If that is the case let them rent their own offices and claim their office space as a gift/donation back to the government!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sure they will make up for any loss when they file next year's income tax and over value their gift!!!!!!!!!!

    December 1, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. K-Mac Attack

    The American people never know what they want. People wanted health care reforms but then the RepubliCONS started making up lies about what was going on and the people freaked out. It is too bad that people will fall for the lies and deceit the RepubliCONS spread.

    The RepubliCONS will fail miserably in Congress, especially the Teabaggies as they won't be able to reign in this group of rogue legislatures and people will soon see them for what they are.

    Obama has been a miserable failure to now as he hasn't pulled his core supporters together and pushed for the legislation that he promised when he was elected. He needs to quit playing patty cake with these idiots and lead the country. Hopefully for our future success, Hillary will take the reigns and lead the Democrats.

    I certainly hope the RepubliCONS nominate Sarah Palin though. The Democrats could nominate Osama Bin Ladin as their candidate and he could win over that chick!!!! HA!

    December 1, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Indiana Voter

    Isn't that too bad they don't have those big benefits! It they had done their jobs they wouldn't be voted out. And if the Republicans don't see writing on wall they'll be out in 2 years too. We are tired on lack of work being completed for politics sake.

    December 1, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Expat American

    It is because of the fickle electorate that so many Republicans are back in office… It was the GOP strategy all along to simply obstruct legislation – They hoped that the public wouldn’t see that they had and still have and will have no answers and no solutions for anything. That is short of re-installing their failed agenda(s) once again.
    When will poor whites realize that the GOP cares nothing about them? And that the GOP is going to take away the extra $50.00 per month that the Democrats put into their govt. check for the past couple years?

    Sad sad sad….

    December 1, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |