Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 13, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. Thank you all. Good morning, my friends. It is wonderful to be here with you. Thank you for the recognition. L.F. Payne, thank you for keeping this going and for your leadership. It was an honor to serve with you in the House--each and every one--I think I served with all of you, certainly Jane, Donna, and Mr. Secretary of so many titles. To all of you, welcome back to the Chamber.

It is an interesting time, a busy time. Something that binds us all together is the oath that we take to the Constitution of the United States, regardless of party, regardless of the aisle, we are united in that oath to the Constitution.

I thank you for so much that you are doing in terms of Congress to Campus and the beautiful ceremony you have each year honoring those who have gone on to heaven--I assume--having served in the Congress.

We just lost--a week and a half ago--Mr. McEachin. I mention him because of his recent departure, but also, he said something very beautiful on his first speech on the floor of the House. He quoted Christ's first sermon. Imagine that. Christ's first sermon.

I will read this to you, so you know I did not make this up. Mr. McEachin cited during his first speech the words of Jesus' first sermon, ``The spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring good news to the poor.'' Imagine. Imagine.

Again, with all of us here, we offer hope in the face of hardship--on both sides--we offer a voice to the voiceless, and to bring good news to those in need.

Now, I have some remarks here, but I thought I would just tell you a couple stories. We lost Norman Mineta this year, as you know, and some of us were together at his service. Mr. Ambassador, Governor, former colleague Jim Blanchard, I call him Jamie because one of his friends was my friend and always referred to him as Jamie.

He spoke before I did, and he talked about how a number of Members come together on a regular basis and discuss this, that, and the other thing, and they have all this guidance that they want to give us. When I got up, I said, I am very familiar with that group--George Miller, Tom Downey, Marty Russo, you know, that whole crew--you know who I am talking about.

When they would call me with this guidance that they brought together, they would say: Madam Speaker, if you were smart, you would do thus and so. And I didn't take offense because I used to hear them say that to Tom Foley and others. Why they thought that was a good introduction to their remarks, I don't know. In any event, I think it was said in--I don't know why somebody would say that to you? If you were smart, you would do it this way. That is the wisdom of the former Members; but when they were Members, they said that, as well.

I thank you all for what you do to continue taking the experience of Congress into the community, the values of patriotism to our great country--what has unified us so much over time. Imagine the wisdom of our Founders to found a country based on something unknown, undone before.

Now, I see some Members here who are going to be part of this organization. All of a sudden, I am like, what? One of these days I will be joining you, too. I look forward to that, but in the meantime know that the foundation that each of you has put down when you were here is something that we continue to draw upon. It is very important to us--especially at a time when we worked in a much more bipartisan way, and that always has to be what we strive for--bipartisanship, accountability, and shedding light on what we do so that the people understand that their voices are heard.

I hope that you always take pride in your service in Congress no matter how raucous it may be here. We have seen some raucous times in our day going way back. Again, please understand the source of strength and inspiration that you all continue to be to us here, and the fact that you come together, whether it is on this day or technologically in other ways, and don't hesitate to call us, even if it is not the Speaker, but other Members to say: If you were smart, you would do thus and so.

So it is my pleasure--for the last time--to welcome you to this Chamber as Speaker of the House. Again, when I see you again, I may be sitting on that side of this podium, so I look forward to that.

Thank you all for your patriotism, for your love of this great country, the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world.

Let me tell you what is happening today. Today, the President will be signing the Respect for Marriage Act. That is a big deal for some of us. In my first speech on this floor, I talked about HIV and AIDS 35 years ago. One of the last bills I signed as Speaker for the first time was the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. One of the last bills I signed to send over to the President that he will sign today is the Respect for Marriage Act, in between the other things that relate to the hate crimes and all that.

The reason I mention it is because it was always an expansion of freedom in our country, and that is what we hope we always continue to do--ever increasing the freedom in our country.

At the end of the day, I will welcome 50 heads of state from Africa. The President is having an African summit now, and he will be welcoming 50 heads of state at the White House. Then, tonight, they will come here.

I am so proud that we can show them this temple of democracy, welcome them here, hear what they have to say, build a strong bond with them.

So many of you have been so much a part of everything that has happened here. I thank you for that, forever expanding freedom in our country. Thank you so much. Lovely to be with you.