A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.
According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.
It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”
The government has told about 60 home owners in southern Nevada, for instance, that they need to leave their property for the duration of the shutdown, because their homes sit on federal land in the Lake Mead Recreational Area. Since Lake Mead is managed by the feds, anybody who happens to own a home within its boundaries is technically a “visitor” subject to the same lockout that applies to tourists, hikers, campers or sportsmen seeking access to federal land.
The rules governing Lake Mead say that the only homes allowed there must be vacation homes, with the owners having a primary residence someplace else, so they’re not considered full-time, year-round residents of the park. But some home owners apparently got into the habit of spending most of their time at Lake Mead, anyway. Joyce Spencer, 77, said she and her husband Ralph, who is 80, had to move in with nearby family after a park ranger told them they had 24 hours to evacuate the Lake Mead home they’ve owned since the 1970s. “I had to buy Ralph undershirts and jeans because I forgot his pants,” Joyce Spencer told TV station KTNV. “I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter.”
I suggest these people climb aboard the nearest Greyhound headed to Washington D.C. and take up residence in the House gym.