For big hearings with limited availability, line-standers may wait 20 to 30 hours. They're paid anywhere from $11 to $35 an hour.
Gomes was living in a shelter when he started line-standing. He said working in the halls of Congress gave him the motivation and money he needed to get off the streets. He now makes extra money by recruiting men for the line-standing services from the homeless shelters where he used to stay.
Many of the contracted line-standers are homeless or formerly homeless like Gomes.
Gasp! You mean there is no free lunch!?! Surely someone can stop this! Who will be our hero?
Critics see the practice as just another way lobbyists are buying influence on Capitol Hill. In 2007, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri introduced legislation to ban the practice of line-standing.
"I have no problem with lobbyists being in hearings, but they shouldn't be able to buy a seat," McCaskill said. "It seems to me that if we are going to make sure lobbyists aren't buying meals for senators, and we are going to make sure lobbyists aren't buying elected officials gifts, then we ought to make sure they aren't buying seating at a public hearing."
They are going to ban standing in line? I'm not sure how people will get in the building. I would prefer we simply make it less valuable for lobbyists to get in the building in the first place.
This is where we must cue the sentiments from an activist who will reveal they care far less about outcomes, and instead demonstrate a bunch of self-serving moral indignation under the ruse of saving the homeless from being "used" or "exploited."
Maria Foscarinis, an advocate for the homeless, thinks it's ironic that some of the most powerful people in the country are using some of the most vulnerable to hold a place in line for them.
Hat Tip: TC @ MR for the Markets in Everything Theme