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But in his box-strewn office, today’s challenge is simpler. Spratt and his staff have mere days to vacate their quarters in the Longworth House Office Building. Soon, the photos of some other Member of Congress will line these walls. Plaques and handwritten notes bearing some other lawmaker’s name will rest on the shelves.
“The camaraderie,” Spratt answers without hesitation, when asked what he will miss most about Congress. When he first arrived in Washington, he wasn’t sure what he’d find, or whether he would fit in among a group of politicians he suspected were “a group of glad-handers and back-slappers.”
Spratt was pleased to have been proved wrong.
“They are gregarious — they have to be; that’s how they get elected,” he said of the colleagues he came to admire. “But they are also some of the most interesting people I’ve ever known.”
And for all his budgetary prowess, Spratt somehow can’t seem to make the institution of Congress add up.
“After serving here for some time, I came to the conclusion that this place,” he says, “might be less than the sum of its parts.”