Democrat introduces bill to close gym during shutdown, singles out Paul Ryan

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A Democratic lawmaker on Sunday introduced legislation to close the Congressional gym and sauna during a partial government shutdown, blaming Republicans generally and House Speaker Paul Ryan specifically, for abdicating “their responsibilities as elected officials.”

Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., introduced the Shutdown Prioritization Act (SPA) following the partial government shutdown Friday at midnight which resulted from President Trump and Congress' inability to reach a deal on funding for a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Nearly half a million federal workers who are considered “essential” are expected to work without pay, while nearly 400,000 government employees are being furloughed without pay.

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ refusal to pass and sign a clean continuing resolution to reopen government is an abdication of their responsibilities as elected officials,” Foster said.

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He then blasted Republican leadership for supposedly deeming “the Congressional spa used by Members of the House of Representatives to be ‘essential.’”

Foster in particular singled out House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who has gained a reputation for his rigorous workout routine.

“Speaker Ryan continues to use the gym during this shutdown while federal workers face uncertainty over the holidays. The only essential task Members of Congress have during a government shutdown is negotiating an end to the shutdown,” Foster continued. “It’s time to tell President Trump and Congressional Republicans to end their Congressional perks during a shutdown and focus on getting the government up and running. We need to get federal employees back to work and to provide funding for priorities important to the American people.”

Foster has also co-sponsored the Federal Employees’ Retroactive Pay Fairness Act, which guarantees back pay to federal employees after a government shutdown.

Ryan, 48, is retiring at the end of his term in January as Democrats take control of the house.