While U.S. Capitol staff prepare office space for the 94 incoming House freshman, their defeated or retiring predecessors have been banished to the basement.
Photo by Danny Yadron, WSJ
Outgoing members had to vacate their offices by noon today. Their new homes for the rest of the lame-duck session: two chairs and cubicles in the basement of the Rayburn House Office Building.
“It’s a bit humbling,” said Tim Schlittner, spokesman for the defeated Rep. Phil Hare (D., Ill.). “I feel like Milton from ‘Office Space.’”
Mr. Schlittner was referring to the character from the 1999 comedy about cubicle culture who is banished to the basement. He said his boss has yet to visit his new digs.
Washington Wire snatched a quick peek at the suite, sandwiched between the cafeteria and the vending room, which is closed to the public. The space, last used for new member orientation, now boasts dozens of gray-walled cubicles. Members get a computer, a phone, office supplies and space for one staff member. So far, there have been no complaints, said Kyle Anderson, spokesman for Democrats on the House Administration Committee.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a 13-term Pennsylvania Democrat who lost to Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta, has one secretary working the phones. His office did not respond to an immediate request for comment. No one answered calls to defeated Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, the outspoken Democrat. His voicemail box was full, a message said.
Members have space for two additional staffers in the Longworth House Office Building. The rest of Mr. Hare’s staff is working on cell phones out of their apartments.
“There’s some camaraderie,” Mr. Schlittner said. “A lot of us suffered the same fate.”