Another congressional rip-off

The restaurant is one of the nicest in town. It’s set in a popular tourist attraction and only the best of people eat there. The prices aren’t like Wendy’s Special Value menu, but they’re not outrageous, either.

It doesn’t matter, though. For them, the food’s all free.

This restaurant is in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and it’s where members of Congress often grab lunch for themselves, their constituents and special interest groups. And they never pay.

A report released Wednesday indicates that a tab of more than $300,000 is waiting to be paid and probably will come out of taxpayer wallets. At least one of the diners is upset and wants his colleagues to shell out the dough.

Rep. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., wants to make the names public and then stick a collection agency on them if they don’t pay up in a month. Sounds like a good idea.

It was only last week that Americans heard members of Congress were writing bad checks at their expense without penalty. Now they’re eating free food.

Fortunately, Roberts and one of the committees he sits on, the House Administration Committee, put an end to it. Congressional diners must pay for their meals with cash or a credit card rather than signing a tab.

This hopefully is a sign that Congress is ready to clean itself up or, if not, at least they’re realizing many of their actions are food for thought in the minds of disgruntled voters.