« Gingrich's Comparison of Muslims, Nazis Sparks Outrage | Main | A New Target for the Debt Talks? July 4th »

Members-Only House Gym Subsidized by Taxpayers

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., admitted to sending lewd photos of himself to multiple women. However, for some members of Congress, the issue isn't only the photos, but where they were taken: the members-only House gym.

ABC News was not allowed to enter either the House or Senate workout facilities, but those who have say they're both equipped with flat-screen TVs, workout machines and a swimming pool.

House reps and senators justify the perk by saying important work gets done there. In March 2010, Rep. Eric Massa questioned the locker room etiquette of then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

"I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget," said Massa.

Vice President Joe Biden works out at the gym, where he talks shop with senators.

The gyms are kept out of plain sight. There are no signs outside the doors of the gyms; the only way to get inside is for members to get buzzed in. Celebrity fitness guru Tony Horton of P90X fame says he trained a bunch of congressmen at the House gym, including Reps. Weiner, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

"You know Anthony Weiner. He's hardcore," Horton said to The Wall Street Journal before the scandal broke.

And what does it cost for members of Congress to belong to such a place?

For them, not much. Members of the House pay $20 a month, senators pay $40 a month, fees subsidized by taxpayers. Government officials refuse to reveal the true cost of running the House's "wellness center."

ABC News could not get an answer on how much the center is costing Americans, and the costs appear hidden in the Congress's budget.

"We do not provide information on the House gym for security purposes," said Eva Malecki, a communications officer for the architect of the Capitol.

"You get the feeling like they just don't get what's going on out there in the real world when they have all these perks at their fingertips," Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, told ABC News. "The gyms and the hair care and all the parking facilities that they have...they're really living a different life than the average American."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

ABC News Radio