WASHINGTON—Leaders from both parties announced Tuesday that Congress has voted to cut funding for its 26-year-old stepson, Jeremy, whose education and living expenses have been federally subsidized since he and his mother moved in with the legislative branch in 1998.
"My colleagues and I realize this decision may not make us very popular," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said of the measure that, effective June 1, will halt the $975 in monthly aid for Jeremy's apartment in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington. "We have listened to Jeremy's concerns at length and truly sympathize with him, but with our national debt now exceeding $14 trillion, the American people simply cannot foot the bill for him any longer."
"There's no denying it; these cuts are going to be painful," McConnell continued. "But he's nearly 30 years old, for Christ's sake. Enough is enough."
The bill—known as the C'mon, Jeremy, It's Time to Grow Up and Start Thinking About Your Future Act—will also end payments on the part-time record store employee's 2008 Volkswagen Jetta. Though the legislation passed easily in both houses, some lawmakers deemed its language overly harsh, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arguing unsuccessfully to provide a one-time grant of $225 to pick up part of the airfare for Jeremy's trip to visit friends in Austin later this month.
While many of the bill's supporters admitted they felt some remorse about their vote, most agreed Jeremy had been given more than enough chances to get his shit together.
According to voting records, Congress has supported its stepson by, among other things, allocating an additional $25 million to the Peace Corps in 2003, when Jeremy briefly expressed interest in joining the organization, and passing a $478 appropriations bill for high-quality Japanese cooking knives when he was thinking about enrolling in culinary school four years ago.
"We even got him a plum job as a page for [Senate Majority Leader] Harry [Reid] a couple summers ago, but he didn't take it seriously at all," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), estimating that over the past eight years, $150,000 in discretionary funds had been spent on Jeremy's as-yet incomplete undergraduate studies. "We understand public service isn't for everyone, but he could have at least shown up on time and put on some dress shoes instead of those goddamn flip-flops he wears all the time."
"I love the kid, but sometimes I wonder if he does these things just to spite us," Pelosi added.
President Obama, who in the past has described Jeremy as "a very charming young man," is expected to sign the bill into law by the end of the week. On Tuesday, the administration confirmed its long-held stance against any further bailouts of the congressional stepson.
"Not only are these cuts necessary given budgetary constraints, but in the long run they're for Jeremy's own good," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "The president firmly believes that Jeremy will thank Congress for this tough love some day."
Some lawmakers were far more candid in their comments on Jeremy's current lifestyle. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told reporters that while the 26-year-old will always be family, it's time for him to "quit dicking off" and start paying his own way.
"We're not going to cosign any more leases for him, and he's definitely not moving back into the Capitol Building," said King, who later added that Congress would gladly repeal the legislation if Jeremy would agree to go to law school and actually stick with it. "If he wants to be a bum, he can be a bum."
"And we love [Jeremy's mother] Helen, of course, but my God, the way she coddles him," King continued. "It's no wonder he can barely wipe his own ass."
When asked what role Jeremy's biological father currently plays in his life, King replied, "Don't even get me started on that deadbeat," before pantomiming drinking liquor from a bottle.
Next week the House is expected to vote on the censure of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who faces ethics charges following allegations that he slipped Jeremy $100 for groceries at the National Air and Space Museum.