The House of Representatives faced backlash late this week over a plan to use taxpayer money to give staffers in Washington, D.C., and in district offices across the country, free Peloton memberships while the American people feel the pain of soaring inflation rates.
Fox Business reported that a draft email from the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) said that the free memberships were a “premier employee benefit” and that all Capitol Police would also receive free memberships.
The plan reportedly would give an estimated 12,300 people both Peloton All-Access and a Peloton App membership at no cost to them while the American taxpayer could be forced to shell out more than $120,000 per month depending on how many people enroll in the membership.
“A source familiar with the matter told FOX Business that the contract cost is a $10,000 upfront payment to Peloton, plus an extra $10 per month charge for each staffer or officer that utilizes the benefit,” Fox Business reported. “For other Americans, a Peloton All-Access Membership costs $39 per month and a Peloton App Membership costs $12.99 per month.”
Peloton confirmed to the network that the House of Representative was extending the Peloton Corporate Wellness offer to its staff starting next week.
The report generated backlash online where various media figures noted that the move was tone deaf in light of problems facing the country.
“Desperate parents can’t find baby formula – Congress has yet to take action,” Fox News anchor John Roberts tweeted. “BUT Lawmakers can now order liquor directly to their Capitol Hill offices Lawmakers & staff will now have free access to the Peloton app.”
Desperate parents can't find baby formula – Congress has yet to take action…..BUT
Lawmakers can now order liquor directly to their Capitol Hill offices
Lawmakers & staff will now have free access to the Peloton app
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 13, 2022
“Membership cost $10 per month but taxpayers could be funding up to 10k staffers per month,” sports reporter Lisa Horne tweeted. “Our government is completely tone deaf to what most Americans are facing right now.”
The news comes as numbers released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the Consumer Price Index increased 8.3% in April from a year ago, which is higher than the projected 8.1%.
The Wall Street Journal noted the current wave of high inflation rates has multiple causes that are primarily linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Consumers have been flush with savings from government stimulus programs and depressed services spending as a result of restrictions on businesses, leading them to open the spigot for goods that are in scarce supply,” the report said.
The report noted that supply chain disruptions, which have been an issue throughout the pandemic, have worsened with the war in Eastern Europe and China going into lockdown again because of a rise in coronavirus cases.
“Energy prices, including gasoline, have gone up. Truck drivers, seaport slots and warehouse spaces are all in short supply, leading to costly delays and rising shipping rates for goods,” the report continued. “Fewer workers are in the labor market, encouraging those who are working to demand raises. And low interest rates from the Federal Reserve have made borrowing cheaper, making big purchases more attractive.”