July 3, 2014

Steve Israel Decries Keeping House Gym Open During Shutdown While Using House Gym During Shutdown

During a recent interview, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY) highlighted attacks Democrat challengers plan to use against Republican incumbents, including criticizing members for enjoying Congressional “perks” not available to the general public. Israel cites, for example, the Congressional gym remaining open during the Government shutdown in October 2013, allowing members to continue their workouts (Hi, Bruce Braley).

Except it turns out that Israel, who once called the House gym “the most competitive but civil place on the Hill,” actually used the gym during the shutdown. As the New York Daily News reported:

“Still, Long Island Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who worked as a congressional staffer in the ’80s, recalls ‘people actually rooting for compromise. Now compromise is viewed as a betrayal.’ He swears that in the House gym when he asked a Tea Party congressman why he wouldn’t compromise, he was told, ‘I wasn’t elected to compromise.'”

Seems like using the Congressional gym might not be the perk Israel and other Democrats are actually willing to give up. Just last week, President Barack Obama highlighted Rep. Tim Walz’ (D-MN) use of the gym during a Steve Israel-headed DCCC campaign fundraiser in Minneapolis:

“Couple other people who are carrying on that tradition who are here and I just want to acknowledge very quickly … And Congressman Tim Walz is here. (Applause.) Tim is getting a little too slim. (Laughter.) He’s been working out too much, given that house gym a run for its money. We also have somebody who has a thankless job and does it extraordinarily well, and that is the head of the DCCC, and we’re very grateful to him, Steve Israel. (Applause.)”

So it’s ok, Steve. You can keep pumping that iron. The President says it’s cool.

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