Congress can be a home away from home for lawmakers, and no one knows that better than the 50-plus elected officials — including top Republicans like newly anointed House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who convert their offices into bedrooms after hours.
The reason for camping out, The New York Times explains, is "fiscal, practical, and political," allowing lawmakers to dodge Washington rent and work extra long hours (Ryan, for example, tries to maintain a 9 p.m. bedtime and rises before 6 a.m.). What's more, most of them consider "home" to be elsewhere — a 5,800-square-foot mansion in Wisconsin, if you're Ryan, for example. Why waste time and money finding a place in D.C. when a cot in the office does the trick just as well?
The practice is widespread. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has been through three mattresses in his time in office:
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Some watchdog organizations wag their fingers at the practice of office-sleeping, claiming the congressmen unfairly take advantage of taxpayer dollars for their "housing." But Chaffetz insisted it's out of necessity, not a way to dupe the system.
"It's uncomfortable and it's just lonely," he said.
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