Freshman spouses inquire about viability of ‘cot’ living

As the new class of House freshmen figure out their living arrangements in Washington, a few people are especially interested in how lawmakers can sleep on cots in their congressional offices.

But they’re not the incoming members. They’re the people married to incoming members.

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This claim was made by one of the best-known cot residents in the House: Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has been sleeping in his office three nights a week since being elected to Congress in 2008.

“A lot of new members’ spouses asked me how to swing it,” Chaffetz told ITK, following a new members and spouses reception on Monday afternoon. “But not the new members themselves.”

Chaffetz said he stressed to the spouses that living in your office “definitely isn’t for everyone.”

But “if you have a young family, like I do,” he said, then the arrangement can make good financial sense.

Of course, money may not be the only concern for a future congressional spouse whose husband or wife is about to spend a lot more time away from home. Returning to your office every night could help counteract any temptation to stay out late with new friends.

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