I applaud President Trump’s tweet-out this week of the Freedom Caucus, that ideological gang largely responsible for Washington gridlock who the president now vows to fight, and I encourage him to take aim at another fraternity of fake conservatives that includes Rep. Bruce Poliquin from Maine’s 2nd District as a proud member.

The Couch Caucus includes predominately Republican men who live in their public office free of charge. These freeloaders sleep on their couches, or in the case of Poliquin, install a Murphy bed instead of paying for housing like everyone else. The Couch Caucus members are squatters whose tab for shelter, heat, hot water, sewer and cleaning is picked up by taxpayers, who also pay a generous salary of $174,000 plus other substantial benefits. Any tax reform bill should eliminate this office-dweller loophole, and the Couch Caucus deserves to be tweeted out by Trump as a sign of the president’s solidarity with everyone else who has to pay dearly for housing.

“Do not disturb” was the sign Poliquin sent from his “office” last week when all eyes were on House Republicans trying to repeal and replace Obamacare. Poliquin refused to state publicly whether he would support the measure to take health insurance away from 24 million people, including thousands of rural Mainers who put him in office, or renege on his campaign promise to do just that, so we do not know for sure his position. But since he votes 96 percent of the time in line with Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight, it’s safe to say he’s a “yay” on the repeal of the ACA, as well as the president’s proposed budget that takes $6.2 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the elimination of community block grants and numerous other programs that provide low-income housing to seniors and the disabled.

Poliquin dodged the proverbial bullet when Republicans forfeited their vote on Obamacare and hunkered down in his subsidized, secure and gun-free House, but now he’s poised to cut funding from all sorts of programs that help the poor in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”

Poliquin’s past votes to take away health insurance while he enjoyed the protection of a generous publicly sponsored insurance policy foretells his vote to eliminate funding for housing of the gravely disadvantaged – while living happy as a clam in a Murphy bed rent-free. The Couch Caucus members’ offices are cleaned by taxpayer-paid janitors, who empty members’ trash cans of personal junk and clean their toilets. The janitors don’t have the luxury of living for free in a clean and safe public space and showering at the gym.

Since 2009, the number of homeless adults and youth has grown steadily in Maine, increasing more than 5 percent in 2016, and most of them suffer from debilitating mental illness. If in the name of “fiscal responsibility” we are going to eliminate health care coverage, decrease treatment of mental illness and reduce funding for subsidized housing for the poor and disabled, why not tax members of Congress who are getting free lodging? To never have to clean a bathroom is a benefit that should be taxed.

In addition to slashing programs for the poor, Poliquin and his cohorts in the Couch Caucus should pay a bathroom tax on the fringe benefits they take from the public coffers. They are takers, not makers, as Mitt Romney used to say. Private-sector employers do not tolerate employees living under their desks, the American people shouldn’t either. Free lodging in the free market is taxed as a fringe benefit, as it should be for fringe lawmakers too cheap to rent an apartment.

Poliquin made a name for himself conning the town of Georgetown and paying peanuts in property taxes on his 12-acre oceanfront parcel and 4,800-square-foot home located at the tip of a peninsula jutting into Sheepscot Bay by exploiting a tree-growth program, and his inadequate payments were often late. As state treasurer and member of the Maine Housing Authority, Poliquin railed against government waste in spending.

It’s beneath the dignity of public office for the Couch Caucus to camp in the nation’s government buildings. Staff and other public employees working on the premises should not have to tolerate these guys padding around in pajamas trimming their toenails. As a member of Congress from Maine with abundant personal resources, it’s distasteful that Poliquin flagrantly freeloads and gloats about being a squatter. The Longworth House Office Building is not a public housing project. It’s high time the good Congressman gets himself a room.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at:

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Twitter: dillesquire