Buy Your Congressperson a Water Bottle

Congress bought $190,000 worth of bottled water last year. Let's buy them some water bottles so they can stop.

New Speaker of the House John Boehner announced today that he planned to cut House office budgets by five percent, as a (symbolic) gesture about cutting the deficit. These cuts will save $35 million, which is a lot, but CNN Money points out that this is only .001 percent of the total deficit.

What's more shocking is the fact that the House spent a grand total of $190,000 on bottled water last year. I have visited the Capitol and can say first hand that the District of Columbia, despite being taxed without being represented, generously provides Congress with clean running water. Look at old pictures of Congressional hearings and you will see lovely pitchers of water and nice glasses for both congresspeople and witnesses. More recent pictures feature mostly bottled water (though the pitchers occasionally still make an appearance).

So, in the interest both of symbolic deficit reduction and, more importantly, the environment: I am proposing a new initiative: Buy Your Congressperson a Water Bottle.

To find your congressperson's address, go to this House site. You will need the extra four digits of your zip code, which you can get here.

Congresspeople can accept gifts under $50, so may I suggest any of these simple and cheap options?

Here is a sample note, if you would like to copy and paste it into your Amazon gift:

Dear Elected Representative: I live in your district and was shocked to discover that the House spent $190,000 on bottled water last year. Please accept this gift in the hopes that it helps you to stop this bad habit.

I'll be sending Nydia Velazquez a water bottle later today. I'll let you know how it goes. Join me. I hope the next time I turn on CSPAN, I see a row of water bottles perched on the podium.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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