How to cope with the problem of congressional office space? Rep. Newton Steers (R-Md.), one of 64 new members of Congress this year, has moved into the hallway.
Steers, who drew number 54 in the freshman room lottery, had a choice of 10 not-so-desirable locations. He chose a three-room suite in the Cannon House Office Building and set up his reception area in the hallway.
The hallway reception area has chairs, a table, plants and a coat rack and serves as both a waiting room and a meeting and interview room.
With 16 persons working in his office, Steers is sharing an office with his administrative assistant.
Congressional office space is awarded on the basis of seniority, with the freshmen members getting the least desirable locations.
Legislation to establish a national fuel stamp program that will help persons on limited or fixed incomes to obtain home heating fuel has been introduced by Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.).
Mathias said a fuel stamp program could operate like the existing food stamp program. He said it could also the food stamp machinery to help the elderly and other persons in fixed income to obtain the fuel they need.
"The fuel that is available costs so much that some families may have to sacrifice food for fuel," said Mathias. "The situation strikes most severely those least able to afford both the price of the fuel and the loss of the nutrition."
Mathias, meeting at his Lanham district office with local politicians and constituents, made it clear that one of the problems is "we have to learn to be more conscious of energy waste by shutting lights off when we're not using a room, keeping thermostats down and being constantly aware there is an energy shortage."
He was soon interrupted by a man who wanted to know why the light was on in a back room no one was using. It was discovered that one light switch controlled the lights for all three rooms in the Lanham office - a setup, Mathias conceded, not conducive to energy conservation.
Rep. Frank Thompson (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Administration Committee, sent a memo recently asking all congressional offices to keep their mostats at 65 degrees. And while many were "cheating," Maryland's Marjorie Holt, Newton Steers and Gladys Noon Spellman were freezing.
Located on the drafty top floor of the Cannon Building, Steers and staff were garbed in coats and sweaters during work hours. Spellman's office was as cold, and Spellman was working for a while, in a room with a broken window. Holt's office is slightly warmer. However, loose window panes cause whistling and clanging every time the wind blows.
Rep. Marjorie Holt (R-Md.) has been selected vice chairman of the 12-member board of the Office of Technology Assessment. OTA was established in 1972 as an advisory arm of Congress to help study the effects of technological changes on daily living.
In response to a constituent who could not afford the high cost of medical supplies, Rep. Newton Steers has introduced legislation to enable Medicare beneficiaries to buy the medical equipment they need.
According to a Steers' aide, a constituent with a monthly income of $322 was forced to pay $147 for the purchase of a wheelchair.
Steers' bill would allow recipients to receive payment for the equipment in one lump sum, instead of in small installment as current Medicare law provides.
Rep. Steers was one of four congressmen appointed to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission.
The commission was formed by a joint resolution of Congress in 1955 for the purpose of formulating a design for a permanent memorial to Roosevelt.
In the 22-year history of the commission, plans for the memorial have been rejected either by the Roosevelt family or Congress for various reasons. The commission approved a design for the memorial last week.
Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman is quite pleased that her name recognition is so high. Spellman received a Valentine's Day card in the mail at her Laurel home from a constituent who merely addressed the envelol home from a constituent who merely addressed the envelope, "To Gladys."