It’s open to the public, charges $20 for a trim, netted $450,000 – with a profit – in 2009, and yet somehow this institution needed a Senate-funded bailout of $300,000 last year? Goodness grief, shut the damn institution down.
Two years ago, the Washington Whispers column in US News & World Report noted the Senate barber shop turned a profit, the most since 2000.
Not everything the Senate does gives taxpayers a haircut. Take the barbershop, technically called Senate Hair Care. For about $20, senators, staff, and visitors who know about it can get a professional coif. We’re told that the 11 hairstylists and other staff are so popular that the office has just turned its highest profit in 10 years. Income for the shop, which typically nets $450,000, popped up 5.6 percent, or $25,290, last year.
Back in 1997, there was talk of privatizing the barber shop but the idea went nowhere in the Senate, and current GOP candidate for president Sen. Rick Santorum had something to say about it. Again, the deficit noted below was mentioned in 1997. My emphasis in bold.
Not surprisingly, there was a $360,000 operating deficit in the fiscal year that ended Oct. 1 – the latest in a succession of annual deficits that stretch back to the 1970s and have deepened in the 1990s.
The House of Representatives privatized its hair-care services in 1995, saving more than $100,000 a year. But members of the Senate Rules Committee decided Oct. 30 to continue subsidizing the Senate shop.
Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican member of the Rules Committee from Pennsylvania, has argued in favor of privatizing the shops, but says persuading the other senators to go along has been a struggle.
“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?” Santorum said.
This past year, they lost almost $300,000.
The barbershop ran almost $300,000 in the red last year but received an infusion from Senate coffers that is keeping it in business, the Senate sergeant at arms, Terrance Gainer, told The Daily.
The current barbers are federal employees and unionized. Compared to Capitol Barber, a local privately owned business three blocks away from the Senate, the Senate’s operation pays double the real-world rate.
Capitol’s four barbers and stylists made $22,000 to $30,000 last year with no benefits, manager Lynn Dang said. At the Senate barbershop, formally called Senate Hair Care Services, the top four barbers and stylists made more than twice that — $54,761; $70,349; $73,658; and $81,641 — plus they have a generous 401(k) plan, health care and paid vacation. In all, the government contributed $230,000 in benefits for the barbershop, said Eve Goldsher, a spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Gainer acknowledged the barbershop’s staff members “are well paid, and it gives them a leg up on their nongovernment counterparts.”
Regardless of where they stand on lending the barbershop a financial hand, senators agree the barbershop is first rate.
Oh really? I can’t find any reviews on the Senate Barber Shop on the Yelp website, even though it’s open to the public. I can’t even find their website.