The Senate is one of the most august bodies in the world, and it has the facilities to match. But its mahogany desks aren’t too familiar to 13 new senators, whose offices are temporarily in the basement—with the cockroaches. NPR follows freshman Sen. Tom Udall to his office—through a couple of plastic curtains, just past the woodworking shop, night superintendent’s office, and the upholstery and linen cleaning divisions.
"This a step up here?" jokes Udall, a former member of the House. "You gotta be kidding me! This is like a hazing!" But the fluorescent-lit, windowless setup, which will end once the former senators move out of the ritzy offices, has its pluses. “It builds esprit de corps,” says Udall.