Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today in appreciation of a floor tribute, led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and House Speaker John Boehner, recognizing Leader Pelosi's 25th anniversary representing the City of San Francisco in the United States Congress. Below are the Leader's remarks:
“Thank you Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. In the political life that we have here in our service to the American people, I take great pride in always saying, when someone says to me: ‘were you surprised when somebody did this, that, or this bill did that or that, I say: ‘I'm hardly ever surprised in politics cause I know what the possibilities are.' I am thoroughly surprised today. I had absolutely no idea that the mischief that Mr. Hoyer was up to, going back decades I might add, but I thank him for his kind words, and all of you for your nice reception. And I thank the Speaker for his gracious comments as well.
“While he was speaking I was remembering - ‘oh my goodness, we're taking up time on the floor and its personal' - but then I was recalling that it wasn't that long ago, maybe five or six years ago, we came to the floor to acknowledge that then-Speaker Hastert was the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House, and we made much-ado about that landmark. So, I comfortably accept your kind words. Since we could observe that, and I said: ‘long may his record stand,' but that passes for humor in certain circles.
“As the gentlemen were speaking, I was recalling when I was first Speaker and sitting in the chair to welcome the President of the United States to the chamber for the first time. It was President George W. Bush and [the] President surprised me that day too when he opened his remarks by saying to the gathered crowd that ‘many Presidents had come to the Congress to speak to a joint-session, but none of them had ever opened their remarks with these two words: “Madam Speaker.”' And he then went on to say that ‘although my father had served in Congress with President Roosevelt, and President Truman, and that was a tremendous honor for him, little that compared to the idea that his,' he said something like baby girl, ‘was sitting in the chair as Speaker of the House.' That was an honor for me.
“His father honored me for my 25th anniversary, President George Herbert Walker Bush, on President's Day, by inviting me to speak to his library, the Bush Library at Texas A&M. We recalled a time of civility in the Congress when he was President, and we had our disagreements, as the Speaker acknowledged, we still do, but we did so with great civility and that was what we talked about that day. I considered that a great honor and I consider this a great honor - to serve with each and every one of you, patriots all, Representatives, independent representatives of your district. And that word has two meanings: it's your title, it's also our job description, that we represent our districts and bring the beautiful diversity of opinions, of ethnicity, of generations, of geography, of philosophy, to the Congress of the United States. The beauty, I say in my district, is in the mix. And while I'm very honored to have served as the Speaker of the House, first woman Speaker of the House, first Italian-American Speaker of the House, first Maryland Speaker of the House, first California Speaker of the House, many firsts, it always is the greatest privilege of my life, as I'm sure it is with each of you, to step on the floor of the House to represent and speak for the people of each of our individual districts.
“So, I thank you Mr. Speaker for your kind words. While, as you said, we may not always agree on taxes - we did at one time, when President Bush was President, and we worked together at that time on his stimulus package which was tax-oriented, you remember that. It was good for the country and it was a good model for us to go forward. It's an honor to serve with you as Speaker, while I, with great joy, accepted the gavel from you that first time, it wasn't so joyful to hand it back over. But nonetheless, it's all in the chamber, and that's where we all serve for the American people.
“Steny. You don't know when, you don't know where, but one day, one day I will repay this magnificent honor you have extended to me, by taking me totally by surprise and wait till I talk to my staff about this later. Steny Hoyer, a great patriot, a great Marylander, a great American, a great Member of Congress - a Members-Member - a person who respects every person he serves with.
“Steny Hoyer, Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for everyone in the chamber when I say we're proud to call you colleagues.
“Thank you so much for this honor.”