No more bicep curls on the public dime, say two House Democrats. Reps. Bill Foster and Patrick Murphy are demanding the House gym and spa be closed for the duration of the federal shutdown. "Members of Congress should not enjoy access to their exclusive gym and spa while Capitol police go without pay, children are being turned away from Head Start, and veterans are left wondering if their benefits will come in the mail on November 1st," the pair wrote in a letter being sent to colleagues, reports Politico. Another, more appalling cut courtesy of the shutdown: The $100,000 death benefit paid to families of fallen soldiers.
Back in the trivial world of congressional perks: "Not only are members still able to access the taxpayer-funded gym, sauna, and steam room while tens of thousands of federal employees remain furloughed," the lawmakers write, "janitorial staff are still required to clean the gym and restock it with towels and other 'essential items.'" The lawmakers are introducing a cheekily titled bill called the Shutdown Prioritization Act—or SPA Act—which would force the gym to close for this and any other shutdown. One aide says that the order to keep the gym open came directly from John Boehner's office, reports Think Progress, which also notes that many House members live in their offices and use the gym to shower. (Read more House of Representatives stories.)