Republicans rib Braley over towels in House gym

(Radio Iowa) – Republicans are ridiculing Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley for statements he made during an interview with a Chicago newspaper reporter. The reporter cited an Illinois congressman’s call for furloughing employees working in the gym members of the House use.

“They must not have been down to the gym lately. There’s hardly anybody working down there,” Braley said. “There’s no towel service…We’re doing our own laundry down there…and we pay a fee to belong to the House gym, so this is no different than if you’re working at an employer that offers a wellness program. You pay a fee to belong.”

Braley is the only Democrat running for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014. A Republican-led group called “Priorities Iowa” issued a statement condemning Braley for “not living in the real world” and “complaining” about “petty things” like the towel service in the House gym. Two of the Republicans hoping to run against Braley weighed in, too. Joni Ernst says she’s sending Braley a “care package” of fresh towels and laundry soap. David Young promises that, if elected, he’d bring his own towel to the members-only gym. Matt Whitaker, another GOP candidate for the US Senate, issued a statement late this afternoon blasting Braley for being “out of touch.” Whitaker said he wants to “clean up Washington…and I’ll bring my own towels.” Sam Clovis snapped at Braley, too, saying: “Iowans deserve better.”

Braley’s spokesman, Jeff Giertz, issued a written response to the Republicans.

“People want Congress to get serious about ending the shutdown and are sick and tired of political attacks from Republicans that do nothing to bring people together,” Giertz wrote.