Members Dismiss Need for ‘Taxpayer-Funded Dorm’ in D.C.

Donovan says he would rather keep sleeping in his office rather than use taxpayer dollars

Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., said he doesn’t support a proposal to fund a facility for affordable housing for members of Congress in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New York Rep. Dan Donovan said he opposes legislation to provide members with cheap housing as an alternative to sleeping in his office.

The Republican congressman was one of several members who spoke to the New York Post about legislation being proposed by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson.

“Our national debt is over $20 trillion, so I don’t think it’s a great use of taxpayer funds to build Congress a dorm,” he said.

Thompson’s legislation would create a study to look at turning a vacant residence hall near the Capitol  into affordable housing.

“I think that building should be available to members of Congress who have found housing costs to be prohibitive,” Thompson said.

But Donovan said he would prefer sleeping on a cot in his office despite previously telling the Post “Washington is too expensive.”

“Sleeping in my office isn’t very comfortable, but it’s my choice to save for my daughter’s college instead of spending money on a DC apartment. I’m here to work, not relive my college days in a taxpayer-funded dorm,” Donovan said.

Fellow Republican Mike Bishop of Michigan also said he was opposed to Thompson’s legislation.

“The more I think about it, the less likely I would be to support it. It might be a breeding house for something bad,” Bishop said.

Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz also panned the idea and said there are others who would better served by affordable housing than members.

“If we are going to use that facility for anyone’s more-affordable housing options, it should be for interns, for young people, to introduce them to the process,” she said.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who also sleeps in his office, told the Post “The House Office Buildings Commissions has no plans at this time for re-purposing the space.”

Hits and Misses: Mispronounced Names, Mother’s Day and a Kid in Committee

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.