Senate Gets Free Union Haircuts, Shaves, Shoe Shines: McCain Likes it That Way

The ah-gust body of the U.S. Senate voted against privatizing their in-house barbershop where they have gotten free haircuts, shaves and shoe shines for decades, all the while running a deficit of $350,000 per year for the last 15 years ($5.25 million). To repeat, in the past, the Senate members have voted AGAINST paying for their own grooming. Do female Senators get haircuts, facial waxes and perms (cause Diane Feinstein is definitely permed)? Do they use the same facility as the men use? Yes, they do. Do they get waxes? I don’t know. Did they vote for or against privatizing the barbershop? I can’t find the legislation with the roll call vote, so no information there, but I’m betting they are in lock-step with John McCain.  Today, the Sergeant at Arms is trying to fix (again) this embarrassment 153-year-old tradition of soaking of the taxpayer. Think about it this way, you and I are paying for haircuts and shaves for Keith Ellison, Alan Grayson, and Charlie Rangel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz dreadful perms. 

Senate Hair Cuts, Shaves, Shoe Shines

Senate Hair Cuts, Shaves, Shoe Shines

Republican Rick Santorum tried to end the barbershop in 1997

“If you start to privatize,” intoned Arlen Specter, Santorum’s fellow Republican senator from Pennsylvania, “[y]ou put a lot of people out of a job, and you have a lot of disruptions.” Specter and his colleagues were also concerned about finding a barbershop that would cater to lawmakers’ irregular timetables. “I don’t know when you could get a haircut with our schedule around here. You can slip in and out of the barbershop in 20 minutes. If you have to go downtown, it will take an hour and a half,” Specter complained. Like Douglas’s effort before him, Santorum’s plan failed to survive a Rules Committee vote, but then-sergeant at arms Greg Casey decided to consolidate the Senate barbershop and beauty parlor anyway. Source: Weekly Standard

I can understand the facility being inside the Capital. I do not understand the facility offering free services of any kind.

Santorum lamented the hopelessness of his attempt to battle the barbers’ influence among his comrades: “When your barber has you in the chair, and he says, ‘You’re not going to cut my job, are you?’ what are you going to say?”

Unknown to Democrats and some Republicans in Congress is the idea of paying for your own perks. Good grief! The House privatized their “grooming” services in 1995 under Newt Gingrich.

Back to the Senate, according to The Weekly Standard, the head barber makes “nearly $80,000,” with six others more than $40,000. The shoeshine guy – more than $40,000.

Or maybe more…This from the Inquisitor a year ago:

The Senate’s personal barbershop has been in business for 153-years and because of union laborers being employed the average salary is  $81,641, far higher then the national average for stylists.

Because of high labor costs the shop lost a good $300,000 chunk of money lately despite charging $27 for a cut-and-blow-dry, $105 for highlight jobs and 27,000 annual customers…

[JOHN MCCAIN] While Gainer acknowledged that it might be time to end the federal barbership his Republican counterparts disagree, according to Sen. John McCain jokes that he calls his barber the “butcher” because  ”He is a butcher, and I’ve got the scars to prove it. I’m lucky to be alive and have needed several blood transfusions to survive.”

McCain might be laughing but with nearly 28 million Americans out of work arguments that union labor is more expensive doesn’t hold any weight, Senate leaders looking for a haircut should pay more for their haircuts, not pass the buck on to taxpayers.

U.S. Senate Sergeant -at-Arms, Terrence Gainer

U.S. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, Terrence Gainer

Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer is trying to knock some sense into these elitist brats.

Gainer has tried to trim Senate Hair Care Services for the past few years. Now the political climate troubling everyone else on Capitol Hill is allowing him to move faster than he anticipated towards privatizing it completely.

“I’ve accelerated my goal to get there through leveraging sequestration,” Gainer explains. “The only real way we’re going to change this thing around without pricing ourselves out of the market is by reducing the number of fulltime employees.”

The sequestration’s required spending cuts provide convenient cover. Gainer is offering early retirement to all eligible employees, hoping to replace them with independent contractors. Four employees have already accepted the offer, and they plan to retire in the next 60 days. Gainer likens these “buyouts” to those that corporations often make. He has no timeline for complete privatization, but is determined to see it through. Source: Weekly Standard

The thought seems to be that Gainer’s efforts won’t accomplish much, and I assume the Senators still have a “vote” according to Fox News, if they care too. Gainer isn’t the decider. Powerful John McCain-type are the deciders.

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