The speaker has no house.
Of all his unusual traits for his new role — relative youth, a love of Clif Bars for lunch and an excessive interest in tax policy — the most notable may be Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s insistence on sleeping in his Capitol Hill office.
Like scores of other members of Congress, most of them Republican, Mr. Ryan chooses to bed down on a cot in his office every night the House is in session. He chooses this over the speaker’s official palatial suite in the Capitol, which Mr. Ryan has pointed out stinks thanks to smoke from its prior inhabitant, John A. Boehner.
So it is that he sleeps in his far smaller office in the Longworth House Office Building, one of three such buildings that over the years have become veritable homeless shelters for members of the House.
For the lawmakers, the choice is fiscal, practical and political. Many say they find Washington rental prices too high. Others say it allows them to work longer and harder hours, unfettered by commutes and the distraction of Jimmy Fallon...
“I live in Janesville, Wis.,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with CNN last weekend, referring to his 5,800-square-foot Georgian (locally referred to as the Parker Mansion because it was built by George Parker of Parker pens). “I commute back and forth every week. I just work here. I don’t live here. I get up very early in the morning. I work out. I work until about 11:30 at night. I go to bed, and I do the same thing the next day.”
He added, “I can actually get more work done by sleeping on a cot in my office, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
The cot club has at least 50 members. No one keeps an official tally, and many are loath to talk about a practice that some groups and other members have criticized over the years as essentially taxpayer-subsidized housing. Its members include the most senior Republican leaders, Mr. Ryan and Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the majority leader, as well as a handful of women.