Happy Birthday, Boondoggle!

$621M doesn't buy what it used to

By Chris Needham
|  Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009  |  Updated 10:01 AM EDT
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Happy Birthday, Boondoggle!

Getty Images

At least the views are purrrrty.

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D.C.'s biggest boondoggle is celebrating it's first birthday.  No, Nats Park is more than a year old.  No, the Convention Center is a lot older than that.  We're talking about the Capitol Visitor's Center.  Celebrate it's birthday today, by purchasing one of those giant, expensive fancy-for-TV cakes and setting it on fire.

What's the worst part about spending $621 million on a visitor's center for Congress?  Buyer's remorse.  Nobody's happy with the thing, says The Hill.

The list of complaints reads like a litany of woe.

It's too big.  It's too complicated.  There aren't enough signs.  The trash cans are always full.  We didn't know we could use it.  There aren't enough people visiting.

Blah blah blah.

Maybe they need another $200 million to fix all these problems?

Close.  Given the problems that Members of Congress have had with it -- which range from getting lost, to not understanding that they could use the building to complaints about the official tour guides not knowing as much as each individual office's unpaid intern tour guides -- a few members have proposed a solution: a new office that caters to their whims.

"But the tiff caused both [Rep. Robert] Aderholt and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who chairs the Legislative Branch subcommittee, to welcome the creation of a designated congressional liaison to deal with member offices....

“There have been some instances where the CVC has not worked with our staff as much as we would have liked to, so having someone in a role of liaison would be a good thing" [said Aderholt.]

For a few million more bucks, setting up such an office should be no problem.  Besides, Congress can just print more money up, right?

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