An announced women’s bathroom near the House floor will flush the House Appropriations Committee out of its chamber-side digs, Republican aides have confirmed.
This comes at a time when the Republicans have promised to cut the Congressional budget and the Appropriations Committee is looking to shift from a spending role to that of saving. Once seen as a plum committee, Members have not clamored to join the committee for the 112th Congress.
The large office suite on the Republican side of the chamber, near the men’s bathroom, will be repurposed as Speaker-designate John Boehner’s new ceremonial office, where he can conduct press conferences.
“I think there’s some good symbolism there,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who is one of three Republicans eyeing the committee chairmanship. Boehner “right off the bat has shown that it’s a new day and we are going to be very, very careful about how money is going to be thrown around.”
But a Republican transition aide played down the imagery, saying instead that the move was an ordinary domino effect. It was necessitated by the Ohio Republican’s announcement Wednesday that he would construct the first women’s bathroom next to the House floor. The lavatory will be built in what is currently the Office of the House Parliamentarian. That office, in turn, will be relocated to the current ceremonial Speaker’s office.
“Office space around the House chamber is obviously very limited,” GOP transition spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement. “Installing restroom facilities for female members, which is long overdue, will require the relocation of a number of offices, including space for the Appropriations Committee.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.