Senate Shave and a Haircut — $230,000

April 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm / by

Sounds pretty steep, right?   But $230,000 is the amount the Senate barbershop received in bailout money back in 2012. That’s your money, taxpayer money.  And believe it or not, even after getting a bailout, the Senate barbershop had a deficit of about $300,00 last year.

Located in the Russell Senate Office Building, Room 70, the barbershop is easy to get to from the Senate floor.  So any member of the Senate can propose a bill, question a member of the DOJ, even stage a filibuster, then just take the elevator to the basement, hop on an underground Senate train and walk a few hundred feet.  And there is something to be said for convenience.  But at what cost?  Nobody is suggesting closing the shop, which has a rich history and is the subject of many a fond memory or inside joke.  Some even say it is a place that holds many secrets.  But is it really necessary for regular people like you and me, (who can’t just trot down to our basements to get a bikini wax) to pay for it?

Opened in 1859, the Senate Barbershop served Senators, and Senators only.  I guess they figured it would be too hard for these guys to walk, or ride their horses, into town to get a shave and a haircut.  And until the early 1970s, the services were free.   Today, the Senate barbershop is open to the public, although Senators do get priority, and the shop does charge for their services.  Prices run about $20-25 for a haircut.  Sounds pretty reasonable.  And they had over 27,000 customers last year.   So why are they running in the red?   Could it have anything to do with the fact that barbers and stylists that work there are federal employees that make more than double of what their counterparts over at Capitol barber make?  Capitol barber serves the men and women of The House of Representatives.  Could it be that employees of the Senate barbershop are union members – with a generous 401(k) plan, health care and paid vacations?  Maybe a combination of both.

Capitol barber is privatized, and does not rely on taxpayer assistance.  The switch over came as a part of then-speaker Newt Gingrich’s privatization task force back in 1995.  And Capitol barber is in the black, and has been for years.  Exactly why Sergeant at Arms of the Senate Terrance Gainer, is trying to do he same for the Senate barbershop… privatize.   Horrors.  A palpable shudder just ran through the halls of the Senate.  Poor Mr. Gainer, who has been Sergeant at Arms for seven years, and who has suggested this before.  He does not have an easy road ahead of him.

If previous efforts to end taxpayer funding of the Senate barbershop are any guide, it will take much longer than one might expect.  According to a report from the Office of the Sergeant at Arms, Senator Paul Douglas (D-Ill.) spoke out against the federally funded barbershop back in 1951, suggesting that taxpayers need not pick up the tab for their legislators’ haircuts.

According to Gainer’s plan, the Senate barbershop would be privatized over the course of the next few years while giving Senate barbershop employees the option of being bought out.  He is also suggesting early retirement for all eligible employees, which has been accepted by a few of them.  I guess time will tell what the future holds for the much-loved Senate barbershop.  As the barber pole turns, and days go by, we can only hope that a place known for “making cuts” can do just that.

Written by Debby Wolf

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  1. Let them go out into the real world to get thief haircut or raise the cost to cover shortages in cost! That would let them feel what they are doing to all of us with thief stupidity! ” it would only add a few dollars to the cost ! “

  2. James Maxwell says:

    It the Barber shop cannot stand on its own feet and make a profit by being privitized
    then it is not in the best interst of our Nations financial well being. While it may seem
    like a small thing it is like the old saying “count your pennies and they will become
    dollars”. Last month I counted up all the pennies I had picked up over the past year.
    The total was over $100.00. Not a lot by todays standards but I never fail to pick up
    any change I see lying on the ground. Keep them in a water jug and ocassionally I
    will pour then out to count them. Over the years I have amassed a fair sum of
    money. Congress need to do the same thing. Count the pennies and make the
    cuts where needed. If they do that they can cut out a lot of waste and feaud in
    government and surpsingly a lot of PORK projects that do not beneift anyone
    including thier own votes in an election. We might actuall find some responsibility
    in government under one of those rocks eventually.

  3. madhatter 46 says:

    This is so disgusting–the better than thou attitude–the hubris—the arrogance—and the contempt they must have for us, with their “Let them eat cake” lifestyles. Shame on them but shame on us for allowing this to go on. Does anybody care anymore?- or has everybody been bought off or Somatized (Brave New World) to the point that we are numb to abuse of power!!! The rats want to leave the ship now over Obamacare too–”Exempting” themselves and their ciphers from the rules you and I are mandated to follow. Welcome to Orwell’s, “Animal Farm.”

  4. giant33 says:

    It never ends, every day we get told of another abuse of our taxes. How many honest people do we have in our government?

  5. Kent2012 says:

    This is the kind of government hindtit sucking the Gov Scott Walker wanted to stop in Wisconsin………that and automatic raises on outlandish retirement accounts paid for by raising taxes continually………….

  6. ginger says:

    Ah yes, the “rulers” get the perks…the people get the bill…so what’s new? If all the waste and fraud in the government were eliminated, along with the free wheeling money sent to other countries, this country would still be the richest on earth. That makes sense so won’t happen….too many people with their hands out.

  7. HongryHawg says:

    I could name several politicians that could use a CLOSE shave.

  8. don says:

    Congress does not make enough money from insider trading so they can’t afford to pay for there own haircuts so the tax payer has to pay for there haircuts. Not only that but the Tax payers pay for barrack Obama to fly his barber from Chicago every two weeks to cut his hair so thats why We the People have got to let our hair grow longer because we can’t afford to go to the Barber any less than two months.

  9. don says:

    We the People talk a lot but when we reelect the bast### in congress We the People continue to send the very same Old Guard right back to the same position. We the People need to wake up and stop sending the very same old trash right back to the post they have held for anywhere between twenty and thirty years doing insider trading among hundreds of other laws they make and they break because they do not Obey the laws they make.

  10. marineh2ominer says:

    We obviously have a royal family in the Senate , something I think the constitution is against .

  11. don says:

    Congress comes back to Washington DC from there four day weekends in order to take care of Business like get a hair cut because they can’t do it when they go back to there home States every week. They need to two and a half days of the week they spend in Washington DC to take care of Business like insider trading and to check all of the other income opportunity’s they get from being in congress which are all Illegal due to congress passing laws and bills making it Illegal for anyone except Congress and there friends.

  12. arjay says:

    Lets see, 100 senators. That’s $2,300.00 per senator–in bailout money and still ran a deficit of $3,000.00 per senator. That’s a total of $5,300.00 per senator. If each senator got 1 haircut EACH WEEK that comes to over $100.00 for EACH HAIRCUT! And they charge $20.00-$25.00 per haircut?! And they wonder why their approval rating is in the toilet?! OH, NO WASTE HERE!! We’ve CUT TO THE BONE! Oh poor us. Hey, pay for your own haircuts. Use the house barbershop! What a bunch of FREELOADERS!!

  13. Burn it to the ground.

  14. In my life time I have NEVER seen such a motley group as we have in
    Washington today.They are trying to control our lives!!! Arrogance & disgusting does not begin to describe what we are stuck w/ for another FOUR years. Thanks all you Obama voters.

  15. Dr Grammar says:

    Hate to sound petty, but in paragraph two, it should read you and me, not you and I.,,
    Too many people misuse ‘I’, if you remove the multiple people and what would you use?

  16. MIKE6080 says:

    shave al their heads that way we will know the criminals when we see them at a press conference or meeting

  17. Doug Rodrigues says:

    Worse yet, the members of Congress are still being allowed to make money on insider trading…what would get you and I thrown into prison!!

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