Madame Speaker Needs a Toilet!
Did you know Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is forced to urinate in a coffee cup when Congress is in session, along with the other 70 lady representatives? That's because the closest women's restroom is like a mile away from the House floor, while male representatives have a fancy multi-stall bathroom with a shoeshine man and a teevee, right outside the chamber's door!
Some busybody professor is very upset about this and has some great news for the ladies of the House: The Capitol architect says ""options are being considered for adding additional restrooms" for the skirts.
Read the exciting toilet news, after the jump.
The following e-mail is from "public interest law professor John Banzhaf." The GWU prof apparently spends all his time chastising people for smoking (including Barry Obama) and wagging his finger in a disapproving way at various public officials.
Restroom Equity Coming to US House of Representatives
Pelosi Potty Parity Plaint Prompts Planning
The US House may soon provide female members the same ready access to restroom facilities adjacent to the House floor that males have long enjoyed.
This announcement, from the Architect of the Capitol, came in response to a legal complaint filed by public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who argued that failure of the House to provide such equivalent access for women constitutes illegal sex discrimination and violates the constitutional right of Equal Protection.
"It's high time that restroom equity, sometimes known as potty parity, comes to the US House of Representatives, as it long ago came to the US Senate and the US Supreme Court," says Banzhaf, who has been dubbed the "Father of Potty Parity." Banzhaf is also behind a new bill in the House which would require buildings that receive at least $1.5 million in federal funds to have a two-to-one ratio of women's restrooms facilities to men's.
"To continue to deny female members access to restroom facilities adjacent to the House floor, at a time when they are there in record numbers, and for the first time the Speaker of the House is a woman, would be unthinkable and an outrage, and could even lead to legal enforcement action," argues Banzhaf.
In response to Banzhaf's legal complaint, the Architect of the Capitol says that "options are being considered for adding additional restrooms" for female members. Male members already enjoy a congressmen's restroom just a few feet off the House floor which has six stalls, four urinals, gilt mirrors, a shoeshine, ceiling fan, drinking fountain, and television.
But the more than 70 female House members, apparently including the Speaker herself, have no such access. To reach the nearest female restroom, the "gentle ladies" must dash down a long public hall often
filled with tourists and lobbyists. As an alternative, they can enter the minority leader's office, try to find their way through a corridor that passes secretarial desks, and then punch a keypad code for access.
At least one female member has reported missing a vote because no women's restroom was readily available, while another jokes that she can make do with the current arrangement only because she's a runner.
Once restroom equity is brought to the House, the body may consider the "Restroom Gender Parity in Federal Buildings Act of 2007" to extend similar protection nationwide. Like many potty parity statutes which are increasingly being adopted around the country, it is designed to end the long lines which form outside female restrooms in many public places by mandating additional outlets for females.
PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School