Fuzzy Shutdown Math? Exclusive Congressional Gym “Essential.”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 8 2013 6:22 PM

Fuzzy Shutdown Math? Exclusive Congressional Gym “Essential.”

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People run on treadmills at a New York Sports Club in Brooklyn, New York.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

National parks are closed, FDA food inspectors are off, the National Institutes of Health are running at a quarter speed, and, of course, hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been deemed “non-essential” and sent home when the government shutdown last week. The House and Senate gyms? Still open.   

The gyms were supposed to be shuttered as non-essential accoutrements of life on the Hill, but have remained open, ABC News reports. On the House side, the gym, available only to members of the House, is still humming along at taxpayer expense, reports Think Progress: “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.”

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On the Senate side, things are a bit muckier. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told ABC News that no one is cleaning or staffing the facility. “It’s getting to be a pretty rank place,” he said. A congressional source told ABC News that the facilities are not staffed but have been kept open to accommodate lawmakers who live in their offices while in Washington.

For a better look at how Congress keeps their endorphin levels up, take a look at Slate’s profile of the Congressional workout facilities.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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