On the theory that a hole should not become a whole, Sen. John. H. Chafee (R-R.I.) yesterday introduced a bill to stop construction of a $122 million office building for the U.S. Senate.
The target of Chafee's displeasure is today a massive hole in the ground, being prepared as a foundation for the new Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building.
Chafee wants the project stopped, on the grounds that it is too expensive, and converted into a park on Capitol Hill, with the possibility of subterranean vehicle parking for the public.
"We're looking now at a giant hole in the ground that will someday be at least a $122 million building making it 10 times as costly as the Louisiana Purchase," Chafee said yesterday.
"For that amount of money, I think we're digging a hole in which taxpayers would rather not be," he said.
But what of the wisdom of stopping a project that already is well under way?
"I'm not going to be swayed by the old argument of, 'Well, we've already spent so much money, we have to go ahead,'" Chafee said.
"I've heard that one before," he continued, in an allusion to his days as secretary of the Navy. "We have to stop this right now. Rather than spending someone's hard-earned tax dollars to increase our own comfort, let's try to make that same person's visit to Washington a bit more enjoyable."
The Hart building, named for the late Democratic senator from Michigan, is to errected adjacent to the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Constitution Avenue.