Announcement By the Clerk

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 5, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. NEGUSE. Madam Clerk, I rise to nominate Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker of the House.

Madam Clerk, we have heard a lot today, yesterday, and the day before about the potential history that may be made in this Chamber. But it is worth repeating to the American people watching the history that has already been made by the elevation of the dedicated, talented, passionate, and committed public servant and leader from the State of New York, the first African American and the first person of color to lead any political party in the House of Representatives in the history of our country, and that is Hakeem Jeffries.

Madam Clerk, it is with great pride that I rise to nominate the gentleman from New York, the man who has been the lead vote-getter 10 times and counting to be the Speaker of the House.

Madam Clerk, the last several days have been difficult for the country and for the American people as they have watched what has unfolded in this Chamber and as they have seen the dysfunction laid bare on the other side of the aisle.

I suspect that some Americans watching will recall the dysfunction of years past. My colleague on the other side of the aisle talked about history, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and the like.

Madam Clerk, I would like to take you through a more recent history because I can tell my friends that as a Member-elect from the great State of Colorado, this is not their first rodeo as far as dysfunction is concerned.

Four years ago today, I was sworn in with my colleagues from the class of 2018 during what became the most difficult and the longest government shutdown in the history of our country.


Because of the dysfunction and the chaos on the other side of the aisle.

The country then did what it has so often done: it looked to House Democrats to govern and to lead, and under the leadership of one of the greatest Speakers in the history of the country, Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, that is exactly what we did.

If we want to talk about history, then let's talk about recent history. Two years ago tomorrow I stood here with so many of my friends in this Chamber as our democracy was attacked as our colleagues on the other side of the aisle tried to overturn an election.

And the country, yet again, did what it has done before: it looked to House Democrats to lead and to govern. That is exactly what we did when we certified the election, and we safeguarded the transfer of power.

So here we find ourselves again in unprecedented times in the early days of the 118th Congress. The first time in over 100 years in which the House of Representatives is unable to organize because the House Republican Conference cannot select a Speaker.

It is a sad day for this institution, but the country will do what it has done before: It will look to House Democrats to govern and to lead, and under the leadership of Hakeem Jeffries, that is exactly what we will do.

Now, we have heard from so many over the course of last 3 days about the wisdom, the leadership, and the talents of this extraordinary leader from Brooklyn. But let me say why I believe that he is the person for this moment.

Centuries ago, our Nation's second President, John Adams, laid bare his fear that Members of this body would gain influence by meanness, not greatness; by ignorance, not learning.

Hakeem Jeffries' leadership is rooted in greatness and not meanness. It is rooted in learning and not ignorance. His approach is rooted in common sense, and not the empty and jaded cynicism and noise that we see so often in our political sphere. He is a leader for our times, which is why I believe he is the leader for this time.

The bottom line, I say to my colleagues, is this: it is 6:30 p.m. here in Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives, this sacred institution, needs a leader. It needs a Speaker. It needs a leader who will inspire us, a leader who knows that our best days are yet ahead, and a leader committed to our communities, our Constitution, and our country.

I am here to say that leader is Hakeem Jeffries of the great State of New York.

Madam Clerk, it gives me great honor as the chairman of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee to nominate Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker of the House.