Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

4 Lawmakers Share Rooms with a View - a Democratic One

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

4 Lawmakers Share Rooms with a View - a Democratic One

Article excerpt

SAM COOKS, Dick cleans, George collects the rent and Chuck raids the refrigerator. Weeknights, they shoot the breeze in their underwear in the Capitol Hill town house where two of them sleep in unkempt beds in the living room like so many superannuated frat boys and check to see whether anyone they know turns up on "Nightline."

Weekdays, as members of Congress, these four help make the trade, farm, environmental and crime laws of the United States. Their little den on D Street may be the capital's highest-powered political domicile outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so celebrated that it became the subject of a proposed television sitcom called "Four in the House." (The president has a standing invitation, but hasn't come so far.)

For Reps. Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, George Miller of California and Charles E. Schumer of New York, Washington life is not all beer and roses. It's more like beer and frozen soy burgers, stale tortilla chips, lost laundry, monthly trips to Price Club and weekly commutes to their districts and families back home.

"My father was in the California state Senate, and he used to say that the worst thing was going home to an empty hotel room in Sacramento," said Miller, a 20-year veteran from the San Francisco area. Miller bought the two-bedroom house in the late 1970s and began sharing it to save money in 1983 when his wife moved back to California so his second son could go to school there. "If you don't have a family here, and don't do something like this, you succumb to the receptions," Miller said. "We've seen a lot of members who've gotten in trouble here, and it's usually out of loneliness."

The other night, as the four Democratic congressmen shared pizza amid the clutter of golf clubs, a doorside basketball hoop and ancient albums like "The Mamas and the Papas 20 Golden Hits," the worst trouble they got into was installing a huge air-conditioner in the front window. The only argument was what to watch on television. …

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