“Down there you can find out what people did before they came to Congress. You can find out about their families. You can talk to them about areas of common interest,” the Iowa Democrat said. “I find it ironic that there’s this big push to shut down the House gym when it’s one of the rare places people come together and actually talk about how we can build relationships, which is the only way we’re going to get out of this.”
Braley compared the House gym to a private employer’s in-house workout facilities, noting that he pays an annual fee of about $260 to be a member.
Braley laughed off the letter from Murphy and Foster, especially the part about freshly stocked towels.
“They must not have been down to the gym lately. There’s hardly anybody working down there. There’s no towel service,” he said, adding, “We’re doing our own laundry down there.”
The gym was an issue during the 1995-1996 standoff, when it was closed and then reopened after members complained about the closure.
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.