Heard on the Hill

Flower fund collects pocket change while appropriators tally billions

Chairwoman Lowey: ‘Make a contribution of $20 today’

Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas and Ed Case, D-Hawaii, two of the junior members of the House Appropriations Committee, will lead the flower fund. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reps. Ed Case and Will Hurd, two of the junior members of the House Appropriations Committee, found out Wednesday that they’ll be in charge of loose change and crumpled dollar bills instead of the billions of federal spending they probably expected.

Upon the announcement that Case, a Hawaii Democrat, and Hurd, a Texas Republican, were named co-chairs of the House Appropriations flower fund, other appropriators began pulling cash out of their pockets and handbags and passing it to the two newcomers with the flower power.

“What an efficient crowd, we all know what’s coming,” said Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York, as members rustled about for cash in the middle of her explanation.

“It’s time to grow the fund,” said Lowey. “Make a contribution of $20 today, or if you don’t have it, in the very near future.”

The fund sends flowers to lawmakers on the committee in the event of family loss, birth or other milestones in their lives. In September 2017, Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut was a recipient of a gift from the flower fund when her mother died at the age of 103.

It’s too early in the floral co-chairs’ tenure to know if they’ll turn it into a competition, like their predecessors did. Virginia Republican Scott Taylor and California Democrat Pete Aguilar raced last year to see who could collect all the money from their own side of the aisle first.

Aguilar has risen fast on the panel. Just last year he was a lowly flower fund co-chair, but this year he was elected vice chair of the House Appropriations panel.

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