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GOP lawmaker: Senate does nothing but ‘bingo and wheelchair races’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) doesn’t seem worried about the senior vote.

In an off-the-cuff remark Monday about the Senate’s workload, Chaffetz took a shot at an upper-chamber seen as more elderly than the youthful House.

“Other than Wednesday night bingo and wheelchair races,” Chaffetz said at an event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “I have a hard time figuring out what they actually do in the United States Senate on a day-to-day basis.”

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Over the years, several senators from both parties have needed wheelchairs. As it happens, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) now often gets around the Capitol in a motorized scooter following a 2006 stroke, though his office has said that’s more for efficiency than anything else. 

And bingo is usually more associated with the elderly than the middle-aged.

In fact, senators, on average, aren't all that much older than their colleagues on the other side of the Rotunda. According to the Congressional Research Service, the average age of the Senate at the start of the current Congress was 62.2, while House members came in at an average of 56.7. (Both chambers have seen some changes in membership since this Congress started in January 2011.

Meanwhile, both parties are fighting over the other's plans for Medicare. Democrats argue the GOP presidential ticket would “end Medicare as we know it,” while Republicans say President Obama’s healthcare law raids Medicare for funds.

Neither the Utah Republican’s office nor the RNC immediately returned requests for comment.

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