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Coburn Blasts Capitol Gift Shops, Hair Care, Sleep Classes
Posted at 1:58 p.m. on May 31, 2013
Sen. Tom Coburn’s never at loss for ways he thinks the federal government could cut spending. On Friday, he went after the Capitol itself.
In letters to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Oklahoma Republican criticized classes for House and Senate staffers on topics including personal finance management and the “Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep.”
Coburn also highlights what he views as needless printing of legislation and reports by the Government Printing Office, which in many cases continues even as more people use electronic means to access government documents.
“Every time a bill is introduced, several copies are printed and sent to the committee of jurisdiction. Few of these bills ever receive any meaningful action and most never become law,” Coburn wrote. “Consider in the last Congress, over 6,700 bills were introduced in the House and more than 3,700 introduced in the Senate, yet fewer than 300 bills became law. Furthermore, copies of every bill and amendment introduced are available online.”
Coburn also raises an issue that our colleague Emma Dumain’s covered extensively, the financial plight of the Senate Hair Care service.
The storied Capitol Hill institution in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building that once provided free haircuts and shaves to senators, colloquially referred to as the barbershop, has been losing thousands of dollars a year for decades.
Still another issue cited by Coburn is the Capitol Visitor Center’s gift shops, where the operating costs seem to exceed the revenue. There is one shop on each end of the underground structure. There are other gift shops in the House and Senate office buildings. In fact, former Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., once said he preferred the selection in the Russell Building.
Coburn’s letter to Reid and Boehner is available here.