…they just slink down into the dungeon. With the Democratic House and Senate landslide, dozens of old Congresscritters are taking their pages and going home. Sadly for them and their staff, they have to vacate their old offices as the new Members measure the drapes. For the final month or two of their various criminal endeavors, departing Congressmen are housed in literally the Rayburn Building basement. Mother Jones reports:
“In Capitol Hill official-speak, it’s called the “transitional suite.” In reality, the harshly lit warren of numbered cubicles in the bowels of the Rayburn House Office Building is the private purgatory of members of Congress who are no longer needed. Mere weeks after losing power, defeated or retiring US representatives move to this temporary basement setup from the comfortable office suites where they previously worked. Here they pass their final days in office, each soon-to-be ex-legislator and his or her staff issued a single work space measuring approximately 5’x5′.”
It resembles nothing so much as a bullpen full of temps doing data entry:
This basement are also serves as Ellis Island for incoming members, who shuffle through beforehand amidst their various orientations and welcoming briberies. One staffer compared it to “Grand Central Station” when the newbies show up, and “Grand Central Station on Christmas Day” when the morose departures replace them. Former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-France?) described the mood:
“You go from being in the middle of the nation’s business to suddenly the phone doesn’t ring,” he says. “There’s no mail that goes through. There’s nobody to respond to.”
Waiting by the phone? Congressman Beauprez, you’ve just won the Soul Asylum segue contest!
Anyway, as Snoop Dogg says, “back to the lecture at hand:” Mother Jones is a solid magazine, especially their photo essays on completely unexpected topics. Where else will you find an interview feature with the woman who sews the Klan robes? They also have galleries of Mexican superheroes, phone sex operators, and an unbelievable, heartbreaking series on children born in prison. I recommend subscribing while you still have that Congressional mailing address.