Chaffetz says Congress should get $2500 per month for housing


Chaffetz has grown exhausted of having to sleep on a cot in his office, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

But Chaffetz, argues Congressmen like himself are flying home almost every week on the taxpayer's dime and the housing stipend could off-set, and perhaps save the taxpayers money.

He told the Hill Newspaper that on top of their salary, members of Congress should get a $2,500 monthly housing allowance because rent in Washington, D.C., is so expensive.

Lawmakers aren't likely to ask for a pay-raise vote, Chaffetz said, but people "shouldn't have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress".

Chaffetz - who said he sleeps in his office whenever he's in Washington - noted, "I flat-out can not afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here in Washington, DC". He says giving members of Congress a housing allowance would help ease the financial burden on many members. "I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress".

Chaffetz is stepping down from the House after being first elected in 2008.

The base salary for all members of Congress is $174,000, which has been frozen since 2009.

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Jason Chaffetz is making a lot of noise in his last days as a lawmaker.

Chaffetz has been known for sleeping on a cot in his office when he's in Washington, and said "dozens upon dozens" of members of Congress also make their offices their second home.

Cheryl Cort, policy director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said Chaffetz's suggestion is an important reminder that it is tough even for well-paid workers to live in Washington, let along those who make a fraction of what a federal lawmaker earns.

While there is no official tally of how many lawmakers sleep in their offices (or how many of them do so for the optics), most of the members of Congress who tout their lifestyles - as the New York Times, NPR, Roll Call and CBS News have noted - appear to be Republicans.

The Hill reported Chaffetz sleeps in his office whenever he's in Washington.

Chaffetz's comments are likely to cause outrage given the dearth of affordable housing available to Americans across the country.

For all 535 representatives, the total cost of a housing stipend would be an estimated $16 million per year.