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Capitol Dumbells: Congress’s Gym-Dandy Shutdown Perk





The New York Post reported that congressional gyms are staying open despite the government shutdown that, so far, has gone into its second week.

Andy Soltis of the Post wrote,

The taxpayer-subsidized gyms for members of Congress remain open despite the government shutdown.

The members have to rough it, though — going without trainers or attendants to provide fresh towels and other amenities.

The liberal organization Think Progress said Tuesday that the order to keep the House gym open came directly from Speaker John Boehner’s office.

The House gym — largely unknown to outsiders until Anthony Weiner took infamous photos of himself in the locker room in 2011 — has no sign on the door and members have to be buzzed in.

This exclusive health club in Washington D.C., which is subsidized by taxpayer dollars, is closed to the public — only members of Congress are granted access. As with other taxpayer-supported operations, like the national parks and Head Start, the exclusive congressional gym was subject to closure when the government shut down. However, unlike Head Start, the national parks and the thousands of furloughed government employees, the posh congressional health club got a reprieve because Congress has deemed it “essential,” according to a congressional aide.

While the shutdown forced a halt to other critical government services including the gym that is available to congressional staff, the Congress itself will not be without their gym. Not widely known is that many congressional representatives use the gym as a place to shower.

According to Jedd Legum of Think Progress, dozens of House members — including many members of the Tea Party who pushed the government into shutdown over demands to defund Obamacare — live in their offices to save money and use the House gym to shower.

Not unlike the April 2013 congressional vote to reverse the automatic cuts that were causing air-traffic controllers to be furloughed due to the sequester, Congress has found a way to avoid the consequences of their own decision and will continue to benefit from the taxpayer while others are furloughed.

(Sharon Kyle, J.D. is the Publisher of the LA Progressive, where this post first appeared. Republished with permission.)

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