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"The White House should adopt a policy for American-grown flowers"

Senators think it’s time for President Joe Biden to wake up and smell the flowers — as long as they’re American-grown. 

Tucked away in a draft fiscal 2022 spending bill is a red rose for the U.S. cut flower industry: report language that calls for “an American-grown policy for cut flowers and greens” in displays at the nation’s best-known address. The language doesn’t exactly show binding devotion; it’s more a gesture of senators’ affection for an industry battling imports and agricultural economics.

But for Camron King, the CEO and ambassador of Certified American Grown, the mention in the report shows his small industry has not been forgotten. One paragraph in the Senate Financial Services appropriations bill released Monday looks like the industry’s last hope of winning the White House’s heart, or at least its hearth, this year. 

“The White House is the exemplary place to show support for American citizens and the farms and the products that we are producing. If we are able to have the White House adopt a policy for displaying American-grown cut flowers and greens, we think that that sends a signal to the rest of the country that they should be supporting our homegrown farms as well,” King said in an interview.

The Biden White House has stressed the importance of government purchases of U.S. goods under federal Buy American rules, but the president will be able to avoid this thorn. First lady Jill Biden’s office has responsibility for flower displays; the office didn’t respond to questions.

The cut flower industry doesn’t know who authored the appropriations note. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was considered a possibility, but her office said it wasn’t her. The Congressional Cut Flower Caucus includes lawmakers from California, Oregon and Washington, where much of the U.S. flower and greenery industry is based, although growers are located throughout the nation.

People may not think of flower growers as farmers, but “there are people who have for many generations been working the land here and around the world to grow beautiful products that adorn our desks and dinner tables and special events and everyday occasions,” said King.

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