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Home for some new representatives is a House office building in DC



The U.S. Capitol building and Congressional office buildings are seen from the air over Washington, D.C. Some freshman lawmakers use the couches in these office buildings as a home away from home. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. Capitol building and Congressional office buildings are seen from the air over Washington, D.C. Some freshman lawmakers use the couches in these office buildings as a home away from home. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

One of the challenges facing California’s 14 Congressional freshmen is where to live in D.C. Democrat Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach sent his wife out to look for housing. Mark Takano, a Democrat from Riverside, found an apartment within walking distance of the Capitol.

But more than a few members choose to sleep on a couch… in their office. Republican Doug LaMalfa of Redding will be joining an estimated 75 members who camp out in their offices when Congress is in session. After a day's work and perhaps dinner with colleagues, he says, you can "read up on some of the legislation or some of the things coming down the pike. You can read yourself to sleep."

LaMalfa, who’s leaving his family back in California, says he wants to get a “real world feeling” about the way Congress works before he commits to a residence. He says a bad decision could be expensive and a “pain in the rear” to get out of.

Oldtimers like Republican former Congressman Dan Lungren — who moved his family to D.C. — dismiss the office campers as a “fraternity” that views the nation's capitol with suspicion.