Let’s face it, the cost of housing is getting very expensive. But Republicans have offered a solution: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) thinks that a monthly subsidy of $2,500 would help ease the burden — for members of Congress.
Chaffetz told The Hill on Monday that “I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” given that “Washington, D.C., is one of the most expensive places in the world.” He said that “a $2,500 housing allowance would be appropriate and a real help to have at least a decent quality of life in Washington.”
The annual Congressional salary, which is $174,000. An extra $2,500 a month comes out to $30,000 a year, bringing their salary to over $200,000. It would also cost taxpayers “roughly $16 million a year for all 535 members” of Congress.
Chaffetz request comes off as tone-deaf to taxpayers, given that so many Americans are struggling to afford the skyrocketing cost of housing without government help. And, as Time Money points out, even with his current situation, the Congressman is hardly strapped: “The combined monthly expense of an average apartment in D.C. and a 30-year mortgage in Provo with a 4.5 percent interest rate, would cost more than $3,100, or about 21 percent of Chaffetz’s monthly salary. That’s lower than the housing-to-income ratio that financial planners generally recommend, which is 25 percent.”
In 2015, a record 11.8 million American households qualified as “severely rent-burdened,” meaning that they were forced to spend 50 percent or more of their income on housing.
The timing also seems less than fortuitous, given that the Republicans in Congress are trying to pass a health care reform bill that reduces Medicaid for poor and middle-class Americans while giving a massive tax cut for the rich.