Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit House members from sleeping in their offices, a regular practice for some lawmakers.
The bill would also grant lawmakers tax deductions for living expenses while they’re in Washington for legislative session.
If passed and implemented, the bill would directly target House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who are among the dozens of lawmakers who have said they sleep in their offices.
For that reason, the bill is likely to go nowhere in the House while Ryan is speaker or Republicans are in power.
“The speaker does not believe members need additional taxpayer money for housing,” Ryan’s spokesperson AshLee Strong told CNN early Friday morning.
Ryan told CNN in 2015 that he sleeps in his office in the Longworth House Office Building because it helps him get more work done.
“It actually makes me more efficient,” Ryan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” at the time. “I can actually get more work done by sleeping on a cot in my office. I have been doing it for at least a decade, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
As the #MeToo movement swept Capitol Hill, sources told CNN the unique lifestyle on the Hill helped fuel a hostile culture. Several sources highlighted the members sleeping in their offices as problematic for women who work on the Hill.
In March, CNN reported that members of the Congressional Black Caucus asked the House Ethics Committee for an investigation into lawmakers who sleep in their offices, saying it abuses taxpayer money.
More than two dozen lawmakers, all Democrats, sent a letter late last year to Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks, an Indiana Republican, and top Democrat on the committee, Ted Deutch of Florida, questioning the “legality and propriety of a significant number of members choosing to use their congressional offices as overnight lodging facilities.”
“Members who sleep overnight in their offices receive free lodging, free cable, free security, free cleaning services, and utilize other utilities free of charge in direct violation of the ethics rules which prohibit official resources from being used for personal purposes,” they wrote in the December 13 letter.