U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is calling on Congress to grant legislators an additional $2,500 monthly stipend for housing.
“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz said. “Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world, and I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college, and a second place here in Washington, D.C.”
The additional spending that Chaffetz is proposing would be a substantial increase, contradicting his conservative principles. With 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators, an additional $2,500 per member of Congress, per month, would amount to more than $16 million annually to fund the stipend he’s proposing.
Members of Congress earn $174,000 per year for the service in either house of the federal legislature. The leaders of the Senate and House receive substantially higher rates of pay as well.
Chaffetz’s lamentations are especially curious, given his suggestion earlier this year that Americans struggling to pay health care costs might have to make significant sacrifices in order to deal with the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, oftentimes called Obamacare.
“Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice,” he said back in March. “So maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care. They’ve got to make those decisions themselves.”
The costs for an average health plan premium is around $235 per month. The iPhone, if paid monthly, costs around $27 per month. And Chaffetz, as Resistance Report noted back in March, gets his phone bills covered by private donors.
In suggesting the stipend, Chaffetz is also possibly trying to milk his last few months in Washington for all they’re worth. He announced in May he would be retiring from Congress.