House panel applies scissors to $5 haircut

October 31, 1991|By Cox News Service

WASHINGTON -- In an act of shear politics, the House of Representatives trimmed its perquisites yesterday by sharply raising prices at its tax-subsidized barbershop.

A House administration subcommittee doubled the tab for a basic haircut from $5 to $10 and bumped the bill for a shoeshine from 75 cents to $2 in the barbershop's first round of price increases since 1979.

The action comes at a time when polls show voters are in a political lather over congressional benefits ranging from free drugs at a Capitol Hill pharmacy to free parking at National Airport. A national outcry arose recently over revelations that House members had bounced 8,000 bad checks at their cooperative bank and owed more than $300,000 in unpaid tabs at the House restaurant.

Raising prices at the House barbershop is a "very positive first step toward reform," said Representative Mary Rose Oakar, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the subcommittee.

She estimated that the price increases would cut about $50,000 from the estimated $108,000 deficit in barbershop operations for the next fiscal year.

The prices at congressional barbershops have long been among the best deals in Washington. A haircut in the Senate barbershop still costs $4.50.

Haircuts in private establishments in the area range from about $9 to $25.

Prices at the House beauty shop are considerably higher than in the House barbershop, said Ms. Oakar. But the stylists there are not federal employees, and the shop doesn't have an operating deficit.

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