Illinois Democrat Wants to Close Congressional Sauna, Other Perks During Shutdown

Illinois Democrat Wants to Close Congressional Sauna, Other Perks During Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Illinois Congressman wants to shut down the gym and sauna used by lawmakers in Washington while many other workers are furloughed during the partial government shutdown.

Naperville Democrat Rep. Bill Foster said lawmakers have been using the perks of their job like the congressional gym and sauna while tens of thousands of workers remain furloughed. In light of this, he filed the Shutdown Prioritization Act to make sure lawmakers can’t deem things like the Congressional workout facility as “essential.”

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ refusal to pass and sign a clean continuing resolution to reopen government is an abdication of their responsibilities as elected officials,” he said. “During the Trump Shutdown, however, Republican leadership continues to deem the Congressional spa used by Members of the House of Representatives to be ‘essential.’ ”

The shutdown is largely due to lawmakers and President Donald Trump’s failure to agree on funding for a wall along the nation’s southern border with Mexico. Trump has blamed the shutdown on Democrats, saying their refusal to fund a barrier is creating a security crisis.

In the meantime, Foster’s legislation aimed to keep the same legislative leaders who aren’t coming to terms in ending the shutdown from living so comfortably.

“Speaker Ryan continues to use the gym during this shutdown while federal workers face uncertainty over the holidays. The only essential task Members of Congress have during a government shutdown is negotiating an end to the shutdown,” Foster said.

The bill was filed in the last days of the previous Congress and Foster’s office has yet to refile the legislation, a common occurrence with federal legislation.

Lawmakers are still being paid during the shutdown but many, Foster included, are donating their salaries.