Members of Congress across the country, including one from Western New York, could be facing a tough predicament soon if proposed legislation moves forward banning them from sleeping in their D.C. offices.

“A homeless shelter may work for me. That would probably work, yeah,” Rep. Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, said in response to a suggestion from a reporter.

The congressman was joking, of course, but when it comes to his actual plans should the ban become reality, he doesn’t sound sure about what he will do. Higgins said he’s one of “probably close to 100 members” who stays put when their day at the Capitol is over.

“If members want to make an issue, they can make an issue of it. The cost of housing in Washington is very expensive. I can’t afford it. I maintain a home here in Buffalo. I can’t afford to maintain two homes,” he said.

The base salary for House representatives is $174,000 per year but the cost of living is high. The average rent for a studio apartment in Washington is more than $1600 per month.

Higgins, a former state Assembly member, pointed out New York state legislators receive a per diem to help cover the cost of their housing in Albany. The federal government does not extend the same financial help to members of Congress.

His colleagues who are leading the push for the ban say sleeping over is unsanitary, undignified and unethical. While some members bring cots, Higgins said his set up is modest, just a couch.

“They’re long days in Washington and I find it very convenient and it works for me. It’s part of my work environment and I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he said.

However, the Democrat said if the House does decide to prohibit the practice, he’s fine with it and he’ll find an alternative. Higgins said it’s probably a good thing the issue has come to light.