The amount that Congress spends to avoid legislating on empty stomachs is more than enough to make taxpayers sick to theirs.
In just nine months spanning late 2009 and early 2010, the House spent $2.6 million on food and beverages for members and staff, according to the Sunlight Foundation's House Expenditure Reports Database. That figure includes $604,000 just for bottled water, showing that Congress is not just hungry but thirsty, too.
Leading the rush to the taxpayer-funded trough was Democrat Gregorio Sablan, the Northern Mariana Islands' first-ever House delegate, who topped the list of big spenders on food at $23,457. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., led the catering charges, accounting for $7,536 of the House's $397,000 total tab.
And too often it wasn't merely subsistence grub on the menu. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs spent $35,824 -- all in one shot -- with a company that helps run a gourmet D.C. restaurant for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. And confirming that Congress and pork go together, the House spent $10,673 with barbecue restaurants.
It's gluttony, Capitol Hill-style. And it rightly sticks in the craws of taxpayers who pay for their own food and drink.