Budget cuts are all in the water
January 7th, 2011
03:46 PM ET
12 years ago

Budget cuts are all in the water

Washington (CNN) - Washington's water authority has some advice for Congressional offices looking for ways to work within the newly passed (and smaller) House budget: tap water.

DC Water General Manager George Hawkins sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday offering to supply members of Congress with reusable water bottles and free water quality testing in all congressional buildings.

As first reported by CNNMoney, the House spent $190,000 on bottled water in the first quarter of 2010, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation. In light of the House's vote on Thursday to cut its operational budget by 5 percent - which means each member's office will receive about $75,000 less than last year - such an expense is an obvious provision to consider chopping.

Read the letter here.

But the D.C. water supply's less than stellar reputation might give some Hill staffers pause to ditch the bottled stuff.

"I would not begrudge them [staffers] bottled water," Bradford Fitch, CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, told CNNMoney. "I wouldn't drink D.C. tap water. That is not a luxury. That is almost a necessity at times."

And that's why Hawkins is offering the testing with the reusable bottles.

He acknowledged that "individuals may have questions about the safety of water in individual buildings," but maintained that DC Water ensures water in D.C. "meets all federal drinking water standards" through daily testing.

Hawkins goes on to point out that the savings are considerable if you're willing to drink from the city's spigot.

"If fiscal responsibility is your aim, I should point out that our water costs about a penny a gallon. Bottle water costs hundreds times more," Hawkins said in the letter.

Boehner's office has acknowledged receiving Hawkin's letter, according to DC Water spokesman Alan Heymann, but has not yet accepted the offer.

CNNMoney.com's Charles Riley contributed to this report

Filed under: Budget • Congress • John Boehner
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Video Guy

    How many people in the bottle water company are going to loose their jobs. The Speaker will then owe the private sector that many jobs. Is Speaker Sunshine for real?

    January 7, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. sharm

    Why don't they buy their own like most Americans?

    January 7, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    Judging from the last 4 years, the DemocRATS sure aren't drinking water!! You don't run up a $5.5 TRILLION DEBT sucking down h2o! Maybe they've been smokin' the weed and swillin' vodka? Sort explains why they couldn't read the bills they were passing.

    January 7, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Mikey

    They ought to go to single ply TP as well as tap water.

    January 7, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Since republicans, along with Bush spent us to the edge of a great depression, and they plan on adding $230 Billion to the national debt with the repeal of health reform, $800 billion with the Bush/republican tax cuts for the wealthy, over $2 trillion in unfunded wars, it is safe to say they do not know crap about governing. This makes them all, fecal conservatives.

    January 7, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As long as the job killing incompetent republicans in congress continue to be toadies for big oil, brown nosers for Wall Street, bootlickers to too big to fail banks and foreign governments, and suck ups to the health insurance lobby, their attempts to save a nickel at the cost of trillions will not work.

    January 7, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans and right wing nuts are as dumb as a stufit. Their life is one constant contradiction and fear. They are fortunate to have a news organization like Fox feeding their phobia.

    January 7, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Luke Brown

    It's only lead combined with mostly carcinigens and chemicals from birth control pills and other human wastes. Drinking that stuff is certainly an acceptable risk to bring down the deficit. Residents of the District of Columbia have been drinking it for years. Of course they have one of the mortality rates among people under 60.

    The reason for the bottled water is that Hill employees were freaked out by all those mutations of fish and other wildlife in the Potomac. High cancer rates in DC and No. Virgina were another. Who knows. Maybe it will reduce the sperm counts of Members of Congress so much that they will be unable to reproduce.

    January 7, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Rikitix

    yeah! why don't they buy their own bottled water like we do? They are paid their salary, right? Just like us. So, why not do like we do? Buy our own bottled water. We don't ask our employer to buy/pay the bottled water we bring to work. Goodness these goverment servants! They ask too much and paid too much.

    January 7, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans get socialized water?

    January 7, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. GOTP traitors

    absurd..... why should they not drink from tap water like the remainder of the DC people.....
    Maybe, the republicans will have the EPA check the water supply before the republicans eliminate the EPA because clean and clean water are not valued except when the republicans are drinking it....
    screw the people.... power to the republicans

    January 7, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Boy, this new house of Republicans are really working hard to get jobs for the American people; lying about cutting the budget by $100million, appealing healthcare reform at the cost of $230million, proposing abortion bills, lobbyist are paying off the newcomers. Don't complain people, Republicans are doing a great "job" for big business and the rich to get elected again.

    January 7, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. Disgusted

    Congress and its staff should definitely give up bottled water. If they are truly serious about austerity, they have to make sacrifices.Points for the environment too. Fewer plastic bottles in landfills.

    Similarly, if Congress wants to repeal the Health Care Reform Law, the members must be consistent and waive their taxpayer funded, gold-plated health plans too. Enter the private market, if you dare, gentlemen. Subject your families to the delays, denials and other degradations we all experience. There are important and popular consumer protections in that law. Unless you're willing to suffer our market-based experience you have no business voting to repeal.

    January 7, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |