Your NPR news source

Durbin leaving Congressional roommates behind

It’s the end of an era: Sen. Dick Durbin is moving out of the row house he shared with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. George Miller.

SHARE Durbin leaving Congressional roommates behind
Durbin leaving Congressional roommates behind

File: Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin

AP/Andrew A. Nelles

For Senator Dick Durbin, the upcoming session of Congress marks the end of an era. And it’s not because the Senate is turning from blue to red.

After more than 20 years, the number two Democrat will be forced to find a new place to live. Durbin has been sharing a Capitol Hill row house with two Democrats: New York Sen.Chuck Schumer, and Rep. George Miller of California, who is also the landlord. Other members of congress have stayed there through the years, including Marty Russo of Illinois, Leon Panetta of California, Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut, and Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts.

But in 2015, their landlord won’t be returning to the Hill. Representative Miller announced at the beginning of this year that he wasn’t going to seek a 21st term in the House of Representatives, and so he decided to sell the now somewhat famous frat house.

“It’s the end of an era,” Durbin said. “And as I said to one of the other interviewers, it’s the end of America as I have known it. It is a new nation. I don’t know, it’ll be fine.”

Durbin says he went out and got himself a little apartment that he’ll move into in a couple weeks when the new session starts.

But the Senator didn’t seem too thrilled about the change of pace, as he says he’ll miss his roommates.

“Coming home at night, late at night, and just sitting around, on the couch, talking about what happens and how it’s seen differently in the House than it is in the Senate. You know, I miss that. And plus, we became friends, family friends.”

Durbin has told stories in the past about the lack of cleanliness in the apartment. He says Miller would chide Schumer for leaving his bed unmade for “7,000 nights.” Durbin says his new Washington digs will be much cleaner than his last.

“I am just an average clean up guy, and I stood out in this house as way above the rest,” Durbin said.

If the vision of three, not just grown men, but powerful lawmakers, living together in a DC apartment sounds to you like the makings of a sitcom, you’re not alone.

“I can’t tell you how many times people say, ‘that would make a wonderful TV show.’ That story, I can just see it now,” Durbin said, in a previous interview. “And I said, understand there’s no sex and violence here, so this is not likely to be very popular.”

A few attempts at that show were made early on, including one by a then young comedian named Al Franken, but none were successful until last year, when Amazon produced a web series called Alpha House.

Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian.

The Latest
It’s election day, and hundreds of teens are serving as election judges. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case that could impact more than one million student people in Illinois with college debt. Local groups are stepping up to provide shelter for asylum seekers arriving in Chicago.