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ClassiCleaners in the Longworth House Office Building, shuttered (photo received from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's office, Oct. 11, 2013). ClassiCleaners in the Longworth House Office Building, shuttered (photo received from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's office, Oct. 11, 2013).

ClassiCleaners in the Longworth House Office Building, shuttered (photo received from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett's office, Oct. 11, 2013).

By W. Gardner Selby October 14, 2013

Capitol Hill closures due to partial government shutdown included the House's 'official' dry cleaners

A Texas congressman said he’s running low on shirts due to the partial shutdown of the federal government that took effect Oct. 1, 2013.

An Oct. 11, 2013, Austin American-Statesman news article on the views of Austin U.S. Reps. Roger Williams, a Republican, and Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat, quoted Williams as saying that he favors spending cuts and opposes an increase in the federal debt limit. Williams also indicated he’s not happy about the shutdown.

"I didn’t want the government to shut down, I didn’t get my laundry out" of the congressional laundry before it shut down, Williams said. Doggett said he didn’t know there was a congressional laundry.

We’re here to serve. Did the federal shutdown also shutter a congressional laundry?

By email, spokeswomen for Williams and Doggett each said a dry cleaning store housed in a Capitol office building shut its doors due to the government shutdown.

Williams spokeswoman Haley Graves said: "The laundry is just a local laundry/dry cleaning branch that’s located on the Capitol complex and open to the public. It was closed due to the shutdown, so anyone who dropped off suits/shirts/alterations before Oct. 1 aren’t able to get them out at this time."

Doggett spokeswoman Kelsey Crow agreed the basement laundry, which we identified as ClassiCleaners in the Longworth House Office Building, closed due to the shutdown.

A web search led us to a Feb. 23, 2010, article in American Drycleaner, a trade publication, stating the House had chosen ClassiCleaners "as its new, official ‘green’ drycleaning service provider."

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Crow also emailed us a photo (posted above) showing what looks like the door to a ClassiCleaners store with two signs, one saying "Closed" and the other stating: "Due to the government shutdown, this facility is closed."

We repeatedly telephoned the ClassiCleaners and every time got disconnected. But a search of The Washington Post led us to a Sept. 26, 2013, post on the newspaper’s Federal Eye blog stating that if the federal shutdown occurred, Capitol Hill "service providers" required to close would include stationery stores, "the dry cleaners" and other offices.

The article linked to undated web pages overseen by the House Administration Committee including one forecasting the open/closed status of Capitol facilities in the event of a government shutdown. According to the committee, the House "cleaners" would be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3, 2013, which we took as an indication it otherwise would be closed. According to the committee’s page, the House stationery, gift, beauty and barber shops also were to be closed.

Our ruling

Williams said a congressional laundry was closed due to the government shutdown.

Save for a few hours the first Thursday of October, the House’s official cleaners was closed in connection with the partial government shutdown. We rate this claim as True.


TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.

Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.

 

Our Sources

News article, "Budget impasse looks vastly different in the eyes of 2 Austin-area congressmen," Austin American-Statesman, Oct. 11, 2013

Email, Haley Graves, communications director, U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, Oct. 11, 2013

Email, Kelsey Crow, press secretary, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Oct. 11, 2013

News article, "U.S. House Selects ClassiCleaners to Help 'Green' the Capitol," American Drycleaner, Feb. 23, 2010 (accessed Oct. 14, 2013)

News blog post, "What happens with congressional employees if the government shuts down?," Federal Eye blog, The Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2013

Web page, "Expected Levels of Service During a Lapse in Appropriations," House Administration Committee, Congress (accessed Oct. 14, 2013)

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Capitol Hill closures due to partial government shutdown included the House's 'official' dry cleaners

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