The Surreal Congressional Life

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THE PLANK JANUARY 19, 2007

The Surreal Congressional Life

The Times had a delicious piece yesterday on a phenomenon that
has always piqued my interest:
congressional housemates. In spite of six-figure salaries, it can be difficult for
congressmen to maintain two residences (one in their district, the other in D.C.).
Many representatives rent townhouses or apartments together and I've always
imagined they live the raucous lives of frat boys.

Well, not exactly. The Times profiles the not-quite-Animal House
existence of Representatives George Miller and Bill Delahunt and Senators Dick
Durbin and Chuck Schumer. What do we learn? Schumer is a cereal fiend (namely
granola) and leaves a messy bed. Durbin likes big screen TVs. Miller does his
colleagues a favor with the $750 a month rent (on Capitol Hill!). And Delahunt is the
resident joker:

Once, Mr. Miller's son shot a deer and presented the house with an abundant supply
of venison. It remained in the freezer for 12 years, at which point it was deemed to
have reached its term limit and was discarded.
"Whatever happened to that venison?" Mr. Schumer wondered.
"I think it just got up and walked away," Mr. Delahunt said.

We also discover that "Women rarely set foot in the place, excluding the Haitian
cleaning lady who comes every week and who everyone promises is a legal
immigrant."

How much you wanna bet the RNC already has a team working on this? Would Tom
Tancredo refuse to socialize at a townhouse if the help didn't have proper papers?
Well, nix that question. The Times reveals that "no Republican had ever set
foot in the place, at least to their [the Democratic tenants'] knowledge." Nice to know
that partisan bickering extends even to the domicile.

Update: An astute reader with a good memory informs me that
TNR's Kate Marsh wrote about this same set of
congressional roommates in 2002.

--James Kirchick

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