- The US government is partially shutdown, but members of Congress are still using their exclusive gym.
- Some members of the House of Representatives complained to The Washington Post that there weren’t enough towels stacked in the gym Saturday morning, and they wondered whether it was because of the shutdown.
- People on Twitter criticized lawmakers for complaining about the relatively trivial matter amid the shutdown.
Congress is currently scrambling to re-open the government after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill late Friday night, forcing a partial shutdown.
But some on Capitol Hill are concerned about the private gyms that are available exclusively for lawmakers.
“Members also complaining to me that the House gym lacks enough towels this morning and they wonder if it’s because of the shutdown,” Robert Acosta, a Washington Post reporter, said in a tweet Saturday morning.
Although some federal programs and branches close during a shutdown, the exclusive House and Senate workout facilities appear to have remained open.
Acosta’s tweet about the House members’ complaints drew outrage on Twitter.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) January 20, 2018
If you complained to Bob about towels in the members gym, please resign from Congress. https://t.co/IxqpebyuMq
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 20, 2018
Why is the members gym open at all? Did they decide it was an “essential service“ again?
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) January 20, 2018
Congress…. has a gym…. why?
— Mitchell Slagh (@MitchellSlagh) January 20, 2018
Justin Kanew, a Democratic congressional candidate for Tennessee’s 7th district weighed in on the controversy, too.
Not sure a tweet could better exemplify how out of touch our representatives are. ????????
— Justin Kanew (@Kanew) January 20, 2018
During the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, the exclusive gyms stayed open, but towel service was unavailable, ThinkProgress reported at the time. The House gym features a pool, basketball courts, a sauna, steam room, and flat screen TVs. Taxpayers fund the cleaning and maintenance.
Deliberations between the Democratic and Republican party leadership over a funding bill are ongoing in an attempt to end the shutdown, but the two sides are also engaged in a nasty blame game. Republicans blame Democrats – particularly Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – for blocking a key vote Friday night that would’ve averted the shutdown. Democrats, meanwhile, blame President Donald Trump for reneging on a deal they reached prior to the vote.