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No Government, No Congressional Spa

Oct 9, 2013
Press Release
Foster Introduces Legislation To Remove “Essential” Status For Members’ Exclusive Gym

Washington, DC— Today, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11), along with Congressman Patrick Murphy (FL-18), introduced the Shutdown Prioritization Act (SPA) which would force Speaker Boehner to remove the Members only gym and spa from his list of essential House services.

“Members of Congress should not enjoy access to their exclusive gym and spa while Capitol police go without pay, children are being turned away from Head Start and veterans are left wondering if their benefits will come in the mail on November 1st,” said Foster.  

The full text of the legislation is available here.

Despite Speaker Boehner’s refusal to allow a majority vote on a clean resolution to reopen the government, Boehner believes Members of Congress deserve to receive perks like the House gym, sauna and steam room.  He has deemed the gym and spa, used exclusively by Members of the House of Representatives to be “essential” during the shutdown.  Not only are Members of Congress still able to access the taxpayer-funded gym, sauna and steam room while tens of thousands of federal employees remain furloughed, janitorial staff are still required to clean and maintain the gym and restock it with towels and other “essential” items. 

The SPA Act would prohibit the Architect of the Capitol from operating the Member gym during a government shutdown.

“If veterans’ benefits processing, food assistance for women and children and medical research are not ‘essential’ then the sauna, steam room and gym for Members of Congress certainly are not,” added Foster. “It is time to end this reckless and irresponsible shutdown which is putting our economic recovery at risk and disrupting essential services that, unlike the Members’ gym, are essential to hardworking American families.”

On Saturday, Congressman Foster was one of 200 Democrats who sent a letter to Speaker Boehner demanding a simple majority vote on a clean continuing resolution which would end the shutdown and fund the government.

A copy of the letter is available here.