Incoming congressmen swear they aren't just career politicians. They
are so far from it, in fact, that many plan to live like scores of other
recent transplants to the nation's capital—namely, interns. Like
idealistic college students, these newly elected officials are bedding on couches or laying out air mattresses in their office, according to a Wall Street Journal
More than 15 percent of freshman congressmen, write Michael M. Phillips and Danny Yadron, intend to live out of
their offices during the next session of Congress. And, if not for their
concerned spouses, there could be even more. One such austerity-minded lawmaker, Joe Walsh, is
convinced that he'll be just fine in his office. His wife, Helene
Miller-Walsh, seems to think it's a ridiculous idea: "When I come to
stay, I'm not walking around in fuzzy slippers in the office...I just
can't tell my college-age kids that mom and dad moved back into the
dorm," she tells the Journal.
But plenty of other
Republicans—office-camping has historically been a GOP phenomenon—don't mind the dormitory overtones. There's little harm in seeming thrifty, as veteran Congressmen take pains to show fiscal
restraint (see: Boehner and Pelosi flying commercial
), but the freshmen insist office-camping is no political stunt. Congressman
Todd Rokita neatly summarizes this sentiment: "I'm not doing
this as a political stunt...I'm doing this because I'm a cheap b—."
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