"They must not have been down to the gym lately," Braley said, referring to the letter. "There's hardly anybody working down there. There's no towel service, we're doing our own laundry down there. And we pay a fee to belong to the House gym. So this is no different than if you're working for an employer that offers a wellness program. You pay a fee to belong, that's what we do there."
Republicans pointed to the comments as evidence that Braley was out-of-step with thousands of employees who remained on furlough.
"Poor Bruce Braley. It's tough to be him," said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. "Good Lord. No wonder he's having trouble relating to Iowans."
Watch video of Braley's comments below at the 2:00 mark: