House Republicans say they ‘desperately need a place to smoke cigars’

House Republicans say they ‘desperately need a place to smoke cigars’
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Rep. Tom Cole recently moved offices, and it's causing problems for GOP lawmakers who smoke cigars.
Rep. Tom Cole recently moved offices, and it’s causing problems for GOP lawmakers who smoke cigars.

  • Rep. Tom Cole’s office has been a place for GOP lawmakers to smoke cigars and bond.
  • But the Oklahoma Republican recently switched offices — depriving Republicans of their usual spot.
  • “We desperately need a place to smoke cigars,” said Cole. 

House Republicans are facing yet another crisis — but it’s only tangentially related to the business of crafting and passing laws.

They need a place to smoke cigars near the House floor.

Until recently, they had one: Rep. Tom Cole, a long-serving Oklahoma Republican known for his own cigar penchant, had provided space for such activities as chairman of the House Rules Committee, which meets on the second floor of the Capitol.

“The Rules office was a great place,” Cole told Axios. “But I’m not Rules chairman anymore.”

But Cole recently got a new job. He took over as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, a panel that oversees government funding, after Rep. Kay Granger of Texas opted to step down. Cole opted to let Granger keep her existing office space in a show of respect, leaving him without a space in the Capitol for cigar-puffing.

“We desperately need a place to smoke cigars,” said Cole.

Several House Republicans backed Cole up, saying that having a space for cigar smoking in the Capitol was important for mentoring newer colleagues and building relationships, especially in a place with as much GOP infighting as the House of Representatives.

“There’s no better time to build a relationship than over a cigar,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania told Axios. “You can actually have a long conversation with somebody, and it really leads to building bridges.”

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In general, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to be smokers at the Capitol. Rep. Troy Nehls, a Republican former sheriff from Texas, can often be seen lighting up a cigar at the top of the House steps after votes.

And the smoking trend extends to some younger staffers as well.

“My Senate office probably has the highest ratio of smokers of anybody in the US Senate,” Republican Sen. JD Vance of Ohio told Business Insider in January. “So there’s probably something to be said there.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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