Rep. Chaffetz suggests $2,500 monthly housing stipend for Congre - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Rep. Chaffetz suggests $2,500 monthly housing stipend for Congress

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, said it is hard for those politicians who aren't wealthy to afford two residences, one in the nation's capital and one in their home district, particularly when DC is such an expensive housing market.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, said it is hard for those politicians who aren't wealthy to afford two residences, one in the nation's capital and one in their home district, particularly when DC is such an expensive housing market. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(RNN) - On his way out the door, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, has a suggestion on how to make life easier for people in Congress: more money.

Chaffetz, who will resign Friday from the House of Representatives, said people in Congress need a $2,500-a-month stipend to afford housing. Senators and representatives are paid $174,000 a year.

His rationale is that it is hard for politicians who aren't wealthy to afford two residences, one in the nation's capital and one in their home district, particularly when DC is such an expensive housing market.

“I really do believe Congress would be much better served if there was a housing allowance for members of Congress,” Chaffetz told The Hill in an interview. “In today’s climate, nobody’s going to suggest or vote for a pay raise. But you shouldn’t have to be among the wealthiest of Americans to serve properly in Congress.”

He said he sleeps in his Capitol office: "I flat-out cannot afford a mortgage in Utah, kids in college and a second place here in Washington, DC."

The DC metro area is the fifth-most expensive rental area, according to Zumper's national rent report.

Members of Congress also get taxpayer-funded travel around the world, a cost that rose exponentially in 2016, U.S News and World Report said. The Center for Responsive Politics said the median net worth of a member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013, while the average American household’s median net worth was $56,355.  A little more than 50 percent of Congressmen are millionaires.

Fox News hired Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight committee, as a contributor upon his resignation, The Hill reported Wednesday.

"In this role he will offer political analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming," the network said. 

He said Tuesday he was also resigning to explore his options in the private sector, including writing a book and serving on some corporate boards.

Chaffetz made waves in March when, amid a rancorous debate about the House's healthcare bill, he suggested people give up their iPhones to better afford their healthcare.

"Americans have choices, and they've got to make a choice. So rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare," he told CNN.

He later modified his remarks on Fox News, saying, "maybe I didn't say it as smoothly as I possibly could - but people need to make a conscious choice, and I believe in self-reliance."

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT, said Congress needs a $2,500-a-month stipend for housing. What do you think?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes. It would help make sure that more people can serve in Congress.
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    I would be willing to support a lower amount.
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    92%
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