“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview in his Capitol office, where he sleeps whenever he’s in Washington. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”
The comments from the fifth-term lawmaker suggest that financial considerations were a big part of his surprise announcement in April that he was stepping down from Congress and relinquishing his Oversight Committee gavel.
“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.,” Chaffetz said. “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.”
Chaffetz famously slept on a cot in his office.
A $2,500 housing allowance for all 535 members of Congress would cost about $16 million per yer.