In a proposal that will probably find little support beyond the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is suggesting that House and Senate legislators receive a $2,500 per month allowance to help them ease the costs of maintaining multiple residences.
In an interview with The Hill
, the five-term Republican noted that many legislators carry the costs of two mortgages or rents—one in their home districts and one in the Washington market. Some members of Congress sleep in their offices, he added, due to the pricey real estate market in the District of Columbia and the surrounding suburbs.
“Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here in Washington, D.C.,” said Chaffetz, whose annual salary is $174,000. “I think a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington if you’re going to expect people to spend hundreds of nights a year here. There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don’t know how healthy that is long term.”
The $2,500 per month housing allowance would cost taxpayers about $30,000 a year per lawmaker. If covering all 535 members of Congress, that would be about $16 million a year. However, Chaffetz would not be able to receive the proposal if it went into effect: He is resigning his House seat on Friday.