Friday, October 30, 2015

Highlights from Speaker Ryan's Election

Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Mr. Speaker, today, in the people's House, it gives me great honor to nominate the people's Speaker.

In the House, we are eager for a fresh start that will make us more effective to fulfill our obligation to reflect the will of the people and to reestablish the balance of power.

Through it all, he has never forgotten his roots. He lives on the same block he grew up on in Janesville, Wisconsin. There is no place he would rather be than at home with his family.

He will continue to put the people of this country first. And I can say, in all candor, he did not seek this office. The office sought him.

Ms. PELOSI. My dear colleagues of the 114th Congress of the United States, today, as every day, we come to this floor strengthened and inspired by the support of our colleagues, the trust of our constituents, and the love of our families.

Today, we bid farewell to a Speaker who has served his constituents and this Congress with honor for 25 years, Speaker John Boehner.

Thank you, John, for your leadership and courage as Speaker.

Your graciousness as Speaker extended and was reflected in your staff under the leadership of Mike Sommers, whom we all respect. Thank you to John Boehner's staff.

I know I speak for everyone here, Democrats and Republicans, when I thank you for making the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis such a beautiful and meaningful experience for all of us.

Today, in this House, a page is turned. A new chapter has begun. Today, the gavel passes to a proud son of Wisconsin, the first Speaker from Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan has had the full breadth of experience on Capitol Hill, from a young staffer to a Tortilla Coast waiter--shall I say that again?--Tortilla Coast waiter--to a Congressman, to being a sincere and proud advocate for his point of view as chairman of the Budget Committee, as a respected leader and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and in a minute, he will be the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Speaker, today, on behalf of House Democrats, I extend the hand of friendship to you.

Mr. Speaker, God bless you and your family. And God bless the United States of America.

This is the people's House. This is the people's gavel. In the people's name, it is my privilege to hand this gavel to the Speaker-elect of the House, Congressman and Honorable Paul D. Ryan.

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Thank you, Madam Leader.

Before I begin, I would like to thank all of my family and friends who flew in from Wisconsin and from all over for being here today. In the gallery I have my mom, Betty; my sister, Janet; my brothers, Stan and Tobin; and more cousins than I can count on a few hands. Most importantly, I want to recognize my wife, Janna; and our children: Liza, Charlie, and Sam.

I also want to thank Speaker Boehner. For almost 5 years, he led this House. For nearly 25 years, he served it. Not many people can match his accomplishments, the offices he held, the laws he passed.

But what really sets John apart is he is a man of character, a true class act. He is, without question, the gentleman from Ohio. So please join me in saying one last time, “Thank you, Speaker Boehner.”

Now I know how he felt. It is not until you hold this gavel, stand in this spot, look out and see all 435 Members of this House, as if all America is sitting right in front of you--it is not until then that you feel it, the weight of responsibility and the gravity of the moment.

As I stand here, I can't help but think of something Harry Truman once said. The day after Franklin Roosevelt died, Truman became President. He told a group of reporters, “If you ever pray, pray for me now.”

We should all feel that way. A lot is on our shoulders. So if you ever pray, let's pray for each other, Republicans for Democrats and Democrats for Republicans.

And I don't mean pray for a conversion, all right? Pray for a deeper understanding. Because when you are up here, you see it so clearly. Wherever you come from, whatever you believe, we are all in the same boat.

Neither the Members nor the people are satisfied with how things are going. We need to make some changes, starting with how the House does business. We need to let every Member contribute, not once they have earned their stripes, but now.

I come at this job as a two-time committee chair. The committees should retake the lead in drafting all major legislation. If you know the issue, you should write the bill.

Only a fully functioning House can truly represent the people; and if there were ever a time for us to step up, this would be that time.

We show by our work that free people can govern themselves. They can solve their own problems. They can make their own decisions. They can deliberate, collaborate, and get the job done.

We show that self-government is not only more efficient and more effective, it is more fulfilling. In fact, we show it is that struggle, that hard work, that very achievement itself that makes us free. That is what we do here.

When the first Speaker took the gavel, he looked out at a room of 30 people, representing a nation of 3 million. Today, as I look out at each and every one of you, we represent a nation of 300 million.

My friends, you have done me a great honor. The people of this country, they have done all of us a great honor. Now let's prove ourselves worthy of it. Let's seize the moment. Let's rise to the occasion. And when we are done, let us say that we left the people--all the people--more united, happy, and free.

Thank you.

From the Election of Speaker.

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