One-Stop Shopping: Appropriators Add Ash Wednesday Blessings to Services


House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is one of the most powerful members of Congress, but even he sometimes has to travel across the Capitol to the suite of the Appropriations Committee for a favor or two.                                        

That was the case this Ash Wednesday, when the chairman of the tax-writing committee dropped into appropriators’ Capitol offices during a long series of House votes for a favor—but not for extra dollars or a project for his district in Texas. 

Ashes during Votes

What Brady wanted—as did dozens of other members—was a quick meeting off the floor with a priest who would deliver ashes to his forehead. And give him the reminder that—long after the tax code is overhauled and other major legislation achieved—“you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Brady wasn’t the only Brady who saw a priest and received the blessing after the Office of the Chaplain made a priest available for lawmakers to see on the Holy Day. Besides Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) about another 40 members ducked into Appropriations’ gilded rooms for a quick blessing.

But the service—advertised as ”Ashes during Votes” —wasn’t for members only. Also accommodated after the Ways and Means chairman was this reporter. “We’ll take anyone,” she was told.