Should Congressmen get a living stipend?
Now former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz shocked many when he abruptly announced he’d be quitting Congress before the end of his term.
In a recent interview, Chaffetz insisted his decision was personal, that he was disappointed by the state of politics, and that he and his wife made the decision together for personal reasons. Chaffetz alluded to living on a tight budget, but only this week did he confirm money played a role in the decision-making process.
Congressmen make $170,000 a year. Chaffetz called it a “handsome salary” but not enough to maintain two separate households, not when one is in the most expensive city in the country.
Part of the ‘Couch Caucus’, Chaffetz was one of many Congressional members who slept on cots or couches in their offices rather than spring for separate housing.
Chaffetz told Fox News Wednesday night:
“I mean, look, we’re paid a very handsome salary, but our home is in Utah. I didn’t move to Washington, D.C. I sleep in a cot in my office,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, said on Fox News Wednesday night.
“And faced with another 100 to 200 nights a year where my wife’s by herself in Utah and I’m in a cot in Washington, D.C. – as nice as the salary is — I can’t afford to have two places and have a quality of life I’d like to have at this point,” he said, adding that serving in Congress is a “rich man’s game.”
Before his departure, Chaffetz called for a $2,500 legislature stipend to assist those who could not afford two households. From The Hill:
Just days before he resigns from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Monday that House and Senate lawmakers should receive a $2,500 per month housing allowance — something he explained would help ease housing costs for members who can’t afford two mortgages or rents.
“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.”
Wednesday, Chaffetz announced he’s signed a contract with Fox News where he’ll be working as a contributor:
Fox News Channel (FNC) has signed soon-to-be former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to a contributor role.
He will offer political analysis across FNC and Fox Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming, starting on July 1st.
Prior to joining FNC, Chaffetz represented Utah’s Third Congressional District beginning in November 2008. In May, he announced that he would resign from Congress effective June 30th.
During his time as congressman, he served as the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He also served on the Homeland Security Committee.
Chaffetz had an integral role in many government investigations, including the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, the Benghazi terrorist attack, the IRS targeting scandal and the Secret Service investigation.
Prior to running for Congress in 2008, Chaffetz worked as campaign manager and chief of staff to former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (R).
Before his political career, Chaffetz worked in the local business community for 16 years, specializing in corporate communications work and later owning his own communications firm, Maxtera Utah Inc.
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