Rep. Chaffetz Proposes $2500 Housing Stipend For Politicians, Twitter Reacts
On Monday, June 26, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz said members of Congress should get a housing allowance so they can afford to live in Washington D.C., and it did not go over well on social media.
Speaking with The Hill, Chaffetz said,
I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress. 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.
"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.," he added, “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."
It is true that D.C. is very expensive, but Chaffetz has said things about low-income Americans that make this idea hard for many to stomach.
So, Chaffetz does have a point; the nation's capital is not a cheap place to live.
At the same time, Chaffetz was roundly criticized back in March after suggesting low-income Americans should choose between buying that "new iPhone" and spending on health care.
Understandably, many weren't too fond of that comparison, and it painted Chaffetz as extraordinarily out of touch with the struggles of regular Americans.
Members of Congress make $174,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the median household income in the U.S. in 2015 was $53,889, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
So, getting elected to Congress doesn't exactly leave you in a tough financial position compared to many Americans.
As The Hill points out, a $2,500 monthly allowance would cost taxpayers about $30,000 a year per lawmaker, or around $16 million a year for all 535 members.
For all of these reasons and more, people began ripping into Chaffetz's suggestion on Twitter.
Chaffetz is set to resign from Congress on Friday, June 30, but it seems he couldn't go out without making at least one more remark to unleash the fury of social media.