House administrator canceling Peloton staff perk after criticism

House staff members will not get Peloton fitness membership perks after all.

The chief administrative officer of the House is backing out of a planned deal with Peloton to provide staff and Capitol Police officers with Peloton All-Access and Peloton app memberships through its Center for Well-Being.

“It’s not happening,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who spearheaded creation of the center in 2018, told The Hill when asked about the planned Peloton benefit.

Two House Administration Committee sources confirmed that the chief administrative officer will terminate the planned deal.

A draft memo obtained by The Hill that was expected to be distributed to staff last week said the House Center for Well-Being would provide app memberships “at no monthly cost” starting Wednesday. But the email announcing the benefit never went out. 

There was a purchase order made prior to the committee being briefed, one source said of the Peloton benefit, and then the committee last week directed the chief administrative officer to terminate the agreement. The Office of the Chief Administrative Officer did not respond to a request for comment.

Republicans had sharply criticized Democrats for planning to use taxpayer funds to offer memberships for a luxury brand, even if it did not include Peloton’s expensive stationary bikes.

“The Speaker may not be worried about this costly new program, but American families should sweat it. It comes as families are getting crushed by the worst inflation in 40 years,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on the House floor Wednesday.

“It is insane. It’s also redundant. Members and staff already have access to a Congressional gym for a membership fee. The Peloton perk does not replace it. Instead, it duplicates it. I’d like to see any Democrat go to their district, my district, anyone else’s district, and defend this,” he added

Fox Business reported that the contract cost would be $10,000 plus $10 per month for each staff member who signs up. That could mean a cost of more than $100,000 per year, depending on how many people sign up. Individual memberships for the public are $12.99 per month for the app membership or $39 per month for the all-access membership that can be used with a Peloton bike.

Ryan is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch and has written a book about mindfulness and meditation. The Peloton app membership did not appear to fit in with his idea of wellness promotion from the center that he helped start.

“We’re not going to do that. We’re very worried about, you know, worried about the high-pressure situations that people [are] in, storming the Capitol, mental health, mental health promotion,” Ryan said. “You know, just trying to offer, to some extent, what a lot of businesses offer to keep people here. But we’re not — we’re not going to go down that road.”

Other perks that the House Well-Being Center has made available for staff include the Calm sleep, meditation and relaxation app, a FinFit app to help with financial health and planning, and a Foodsmart app that provides personalized advice based on eating habits. It also hosts mindfulness webinars for staff.

Tags House staff perks Kevin McCarthy Peloton Tim Ryan Tim Ryan

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