The meme that members of the House of Representatives are somehow receiving illicit benefits for sleeping in their offices has made its way up the food chain – from a left-wing storefront to the media and now finally to the halls of Congress.
On the Senate floor on Thursday, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer took that ball and ran with it. The liberal senator went after her Republican colleagues and proposed legislation that in the event of a government shutdown would prevent members of Congress from being paid. She also went on a long-winded rant about the so-called hypocrisy of her GOP colleagues.
“[S]o I have written this bill with my colleagues to say that in the event of a government shutdown or a failure to lift the debt ceiling — and we start defaulting on our commitments, members of Congress will not get paid because members of Congress don’t deserve to be paid if we can’t act like adults and negotiate this,” Boxer said. “I am so tired of the hypocrisy that I have seen — I know it is a strong word and I am not leveling it at any particular individual. But I’ve got to tell you, you’ve got members of the House that said, ‘Obamacare is terrible,’ and then they took it for themselves.”
According to Boxer, Republican members’ reluctance to support social programs and other entitlements is cause for criticism, particularly since some of those members are sleeping in their offices.
“So what price are they paying?” she said. “They vote ‘no’ on health care for everybody else, but they keep government health care. It’s wrong. A lot of them are sleeping in their offices. You tell me one other person that you know Mr. President that is allowed to sleep in the office of their corporation that they may work for. As far as I know, there is nobody. They don’t pay any rent. They sleep in their offices. So they do all these things. They don’t help the housing crisis and they sleep in their offices. They won’t vote for health care, but they take government health care. And now they might shut down the government, and while federal employees will not get paid, they’ll get paid. No way. Wrong. Not fair.”
Boxer called these policy positions of congressional Republicans “extremism” and said she thought a potential shutdown of the government should not be tolerated.
“They have to pay a price for all their extremism,” Boxer continued. “So I hope we’ll pass this bill and send it over to the House, and the House can decide if they think this is right. This is one I’d like to take to the American people because if they shut down the government or they fail to raise the debt ceiling, and we start to default and they pay no price, it’s not fair. You know, we cannot stamp our feet and say, ‘It’s the way I want it or I’m taking my marbles and I’m going home, or my teddy bear or my blanket or whatever. You cannot do that. This is the greatest country in the world.”