There is apparently no up charge for a water glass that graced the lips of the pope.
By now, we’re sure you’ve heard the tale of Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.), who last week snatched Pope Francis’s still mostly full glass from the House chamber podium and later shared sips of the leftover water with his wife and staffers. He poured the remaining water in a bottle to bless his grandchildren and sent the empty glass to forensics to have the prints authenticated.
Brady told us Friday that he offered to pay the Architect of the Capitol for the glass. But when we checked with that office, spokeswoman Laura Condeluci said they didn’t provide the glass.
“I’m not quite sure who does, but those kinds of preparations are not from our office,” she said.
A little more sleuthing determined he meant the House Clerk, who is responsible for purchasing the glasses on behalf of the Parliamentarian.
The clerk has since sent Brady a bill. The cost? $3.94.
That, apparently, is the going rate for a nondescript congressional water glass, pope’s fingerprints not withstanding.
Just to note, Brady is the ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, which oversees all services for the House, including oversight of the clerk.
Some might wonder whether the glass should be considered an artifact, perhaps protected by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. But no, the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court are outside the scope of that law.
“Even if such laws were to apply to the glass, the (law) does not establish the National Park Service as the repository of historic personal property, and there is no basis to require that historic property be turned over to it,” NPS spokeswoman April Slayton said.
So, if Brady hadn’t taken the glass, what would have become of it? Would the papal water have been discarded down a drain? The fingerprints washed away in a dishwasher? The glass returned to a cupboard in a basement room like it was just any other glass?
That would not be this glass’s fate. Thanks to Brady, this glass was saved.