According to former Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, a key Republican who recently retired from politics to join the Fox News cable network, Members of Congress are not paid enough and should get a $2,500 monthly raise.
During his eight-year stint in the House of Representatives, Chaffetz became a visible Member of Congress due to this position as chairman of the House Oversight Committee and his strong partisan demeanor. Just one day before leaving Washington politics behind, Chaffetz shocked the public as he proposed that lawmakers should receive an extra $2,500 for the purpose of covering housing expenses; this would be on top of the $174,000 per year that Members of Congress are already receiving.
The former Congressman explained that the pay raise he is proposing as he leaves Capitol Hill would allow lawmakers to establish residence in the District of Columbia. In other words, he would like American taxpayers to pay for the housing expenses of Representatives or Senators who live in Washington.
Chaffetz is among 50 lawmakers who choose to sleep in their offices when they are in D.C. He feels that he already burdens taxpayers enough by making them pay for plane tickets and other travel expenses; he believes that a housing stipend of $2,500 per month would allow him to rent a second home or pay for a mortgage. In terms of housing expenses, Chaffetz’ proposed amount is in line with the cost of living in Northern Virginia and the Beltway, where a two-bedroom apartment can easily cost $2,300 per month.
Another top Republican who chooses to sleep in his D.C. office is Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Representative who currently serves as Speaker of the House. Despite living in a nice mansion back in his home state, Ryan chooses to fly in dozens of times each year and sleep in his Washington office. Most lawmakers who follow this sleeping arrangement are Republican.
Not all Members of Congress sleep on cots and mattresses while they are in session. Quite a few share homes or apartments that they pay for out of pocket; many others simply move their families to D.C. and fly back to their home districts on their own dime. Members of the “roll-out sofa caucus” are often chastised by the public as being stingy for not wanting to pay for D.C. housing and benefit the local economy.
Now that Chaffetz will be appearing on Fox News, he will certainly be able to afford homes in D.C. and even in the Manhattan studios of the network thanks to his handsome and still undisclosed salary