Incoming congressmen swear they aren't just career politicians. They are so far from it, in fact, that many plan to live like scores of other recent transplants to the nation's capital—namely, interns. Like idealistic college students, these newly elected officials are bedding on couches or laying out air mattresses in their office, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
More than 15 percent of freshman congressmen, write Michael M. Phillips and Danny Yadron, intend to live out of their offices during the next session of Congress. And, if not for their concerned spouses, there could be even more. One such austerity-minded lawmaker, Joe Walsh, is convinced that he'll be just fine in his office. His wife, Helene Miller-Walsh, seems to think it's a ridiculous idea: "When I come to stay, I'm not walking around in fuzzy slippers in the office...I just can't tell my college-age kids that mom and dad moved back into the dorm," she tells the Journal.
But plenty of other Republicans—office-camping has historically been a GOP phenomenon—don't mind the dormitory overtones. There's little harm in seeming thrifty, as veteran Congressmen take pains to show fiscal restraint (see: Boehner and Pelosi flying commercial), but the freshmen insist office-camping is no political stunt. Congressman Todd Rokita neatly summarizes this sentiment: "I'm not doing this as a political stunt...I'm doing this because I'm a cheap b—."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.