A group of top Democratic lawmakers live in a squalorous group house in DC. The house was once the family home of Rep. George Miller (D-CA), but he relocated back to his California district with his wife and family. Now, three decades later, Illinois senator Dick Durbin shares the house with New York senator Chuck Schumer and congressman Miller, amid dusty, filthy and disused furnishings dating back to the 1980s. The lawmakers only spend three nights a week at the house, and come and go at odd hours between meetings, fundraisers, and appearances. They use the Congressional gyms and other facilities for the majority of their needs, and boast about the holes in the stovetop and the dumpster-dived furniture, as well as Durbin's comfort-food of choice: raisin bran.
The furniture is a hodgepodge of what the lawmakers salvaged from various relatives and other parts of their lives.
Durbin took one of the couches from his son, who was about to throw it out.
"He put it out in the trash -- it had to be 12, 14 years ago -- and I said it's better than anything we have. So we reclaimed it," Durbin recalled.
He said the coffee table is 46 years old -- the first piece of furniture Durbin and his wife bought when they were married.
"We're not afraid of the burglars," Miller said, "because we've been burgled twice and they took nothing."
The living room, virtually the only room on the first floor of the house, also serves as Schumer's bedroom. But "bedroom" is a generous term.
He sleeps on a mattress next to the kitchen. He half-made his bed for our visit, which Durbin said was a lot more effort than Schumer usually makes.