The Senate’s Barbershop: An Unlikely Bailout Recipient

  • Share
  • Read Later
Tom Williams / Roll Call / Getty Images

Carl Parks, an executive with National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), gets his head shaved by Mario D'Angelo in the Senate barber shop in Russell Building.

Your state’s senators better have nice ‘dos, because the Senate’s barbershop recently received $300,000 to keep it running, despite the decently high fees for haircuts there.

As reported by The Daily, senators didn’t even know that the shop couldn’t pay its bills, especially considering a basic shampoo and cut runs $27. In stark contrast, Capitol Barber, which serves The House of Representatives, doesn’t claim any taxpayer assistance.

(LIST: Top 10 Most Expensive Cities)

The privatized Capitol Barber doesn’t pay its employees quite what the unionized Senate barbershop staff makes, however, with Senate stylists pulling in between $70,000 and $80,000, not counting retirement, health insurance and vacation benefits. On the other end of the spectrum, Capitol Barber stylists make between $22,000 and $30,000.

The Senate salon, located in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building, opened in 1859 and served only senators, for free, until the 1970s. Now it serves the public—for a price—and welcomed about 27,000 customers last year, still not enough to not require taxpayer money to keep it humming.

(MORE: The Rich, the Poor and the Oval Office)

The Senate’s Sergeant of Arms, Terrance Gainer, admits the barbershop staff is well paid and has an obvious advantage against other shops. He also says he understands the barbershop must be privatized for the sake of taxpayers. For some reason, we think senators’ hairdos will come out of this just dandy.