Congress Lauds Amazon HQ2, But Staffers Worry About Making Rent

Roll Call

Amazon received a warm reception on Capitol Hill when it announced a new major outpost in the Washington area, with senators lauding the online retail giant’s entry just across the Potomac. But privately, some congressional staffers fume that “HQ2” will further escalate rents.

Congressional staffers have already been crushed by stagnating wages and climbing housing costs. And they worry Amazon’s new headquarters will mean they’ll have to allocate a larger chunk of their paycheck to their landlords. Some have taken up second jobs, and anticipate tough decisions about the future.

But that new squeeze on the housing market could accelerate the revolving door between congressional work and K Street, according to Meredith McGehee, strategic advisor to the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. Congressional offices often experience heavy turnover as young staffers age out of living with roommates to split the rent.

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