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tv   U.S. House of Representatives House Members Tribute to Rep. John Lewis  CSPAN  July 30, 2020 3:42am-4:54am EDT

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several departments, including defense, commerce, health and human services, transportation, and housing. on c-span2, the senate returns at 10:00 a.m. eastern to consider the nomination of the deputy white house budget director. c-span3, the secretary of state, mike pompeo, testifies before the senate foreign relations committee about the state department's 2021 budget request. that is followed by the funeral service for the late congressman john lewis in atlanta. the house floor wednesday, massachusetts representative richard neal had a tribute to the life and legacy of the late congressman, john lewis, with members of the house ways and means committee. this is just over hour. without objection. mr. neal: madam speaker, i have asked the members of the ways and means family to assemble on the floor tonight so that we might offer appropriate praise
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to the life of one of the iconic figures of not just the civil rights movement, but of the ways and means committee. i sat next to john lewis for 25 years on the ways and means committee and i must tell you, he was the bravest, most gentle person i ever met. he nearly lost his life in pursuit of justice and confronted some of the darkest society at the edmund pettus bridge as a very young man. but he never lost faith in what america could become. during those many conversations, and he offered a tutorial to me about the life and the legend that he had offered to america, his unyielding optimism and hope lifted the spirits of his fellow members of congress and the american people in our nation's most trying moments. with quiet strength, grace and love, he shouldered unthinkable burdens and changed this world
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for the better. through it all, he was unfailingly humble, selfless and kind and i must say, and i was commenting a moment ago to some colleagues on the committee, if he was in the room, you'd have to get him to ome to the microphone. that was that reluctance that he had. we all had known about the great achievements that he had offered to this nation. but it was never, let me get to the microphone. it was always a much more humble arrangement. e came to my constituency in 19 -- 2015. he was invited by the sisters of st. joseph. who staffed a small catholic college in massachusetts. and they invited him to commemorate the fact that on bloody sunday, at the edmund pettus bridge, they were the only ones with members of the
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edmund priesthood who would care for them when others closed their doors. when john greeted sister maxine snyder upon introduction, for the commencement address, the two of them broke out in tears and 5,000 people in the springfield civic center broke out in tears with them. he remembered that moment and they remembered him. another great story in the legacy of john lewis. it's rare that a person has an opportunity in this institution to work alongside a real hero. and we had that here and we sometimes forget that in the din of incendiary debate. but for three decades, i along with other members of the ways and means committee, we had that honor. to be in his presence, his wisdom and his joyful spirit day in and day out was a
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blessing beyond words. john served in this congress until his last day, in part because his work was not done. despite all the advancements he achieved, glaring inequities remain in our nation that demand reform. but lucky for us, john lewis inspired generations of young people to follow in his steps, to stand up to injustice, and to fight for what is right. now he can clearly rest and our prayers are with him as we carry on his vital and unfinished business. it is up to all of us to pick up where john left off, to be part of his legacy in action. and for those of us who will join his funeral service tomorrow in atlanta, what a great journey this has been, to have certained with him -- served with him in this congress. i yield back my time and i would like to recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. brady, for which time he might
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consume. mr. brady: chairman neal, thank you, for bringing the ways and means family, as you termed it, together for this important evening. madam speaker, i would like to ask unanimous consent that a tribute to mr. lewis by my colleague on the ways and means committee, and a great admirer of john lewis, mr. nunes of california, be included in the record as part of this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brady: these past few days our country has taken time to reflect on the life and legacy of john robert lewis. from the edmund pettus bridge to auburn avenue, to the streets of the south, to the rotunda of the united states capitol, our nation has come together to celebrate the life of a man who rose to the occasion, to fight for the rights of all human beings. a congressman for the great state of georgia, and an esteemed member of the ways and means committee.
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john lewis was a blessing to our institution. it was an honor of a lifetime to sit next to such giants as he, congressman sam johnson, and others who made their way through the ways and means committee in the longworth building. i was lucky to not just sit near john in the committee room, but realized early this session, as i went to look at my old office in the cannon office building, and realized that john lewis was serving there today. and i had a big smile on -- in my face as i greeted john and we reminisced a bit about sharing our offices. you couldn't help but smile if you ever crossed paths with him. he was one of the better angels of our nature. he's one of our thousand points of light. he was a man who walked in the wind to bring equality to america, and now is walking in the heavens with his creator. we are a better nation and a better people because of him. and this institution and all of
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our country will miss him dearly. to know john, as every member of this committee will tell you, is a blessing. to know john. his life, his career, his legislative achievements will be studied by future students for generations. it was an honor to have worked on such important issues with him. including the first reforms to the i.r.s. in over two decades. in making improvements to medicare for our nation's seniors. it is common knowledge in d.c. and certainly in the ways and means committee that our room happens to be one of the coldest rooms in the capitol. but that was not the case when john walked in. his presence alone brought that room warmth, calmness and reassurance that if we worked together, we all can make a difference. when i look down the dais in the weeks ahead, i'll be sad to miss our friend. but i'll always be proud i had the privilege of working with such a remarkable man.
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each day he walked in these halls, we all witnessed firsthand his remarkable integrity. his intelligence toward the complex policy issues we debate. and his willingness to work across the aisle, if it means americans will have greater dignity, opportunity to equal rights. i will tell you, if you were poor, if you were born on the wrong side of the tracks, if you felt powerless, john lewis was your man. john lewis would fight for you. god loved this remarkable servant and i know john is walking hand in hand with god in his beloved -- and his beloved lillian today. tomorrow i'll be honored to join chairman neal to attend his funeral in atlanta with many of our house colleagues. john, it will be a celebration of your life. a chance for us to honor you and reflect on all the joy, passion and love you brought to this congress, to our lives, and to this country. may you rest in peace, my friend, and may god continue to
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shower you with faith and hope and love each day. with that, chairman neal, thank you for having me as part of this dedication today. r. neal: i mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize another member of the ways and means committee, mr. thompson, for two minutings. mr. thompson: in my time in congress, rarely have i participated in special orders. but tonight, this is more than a special order. lewis was one of the greatest men to have ever served in the congress of the united states of america. he devoted his entire life to helping others and making our country a better place. it was an incredible honor to serve with him in congress and on the ways and means committee. my wife, jan, and i walked with him over this edmund pettus bridge on the 50th anniversary
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of bloody sunday. that was 50 years after john was almost killed on that bridge while peacefully protesting discrimination that disenfranchised americans in our country. he visited my district and hundreds of my constituents came out to see him. one man came in a wheelchair pushed by his daughter, and hi daughter saiding, my father was a freedom rider and marched withlewis and he checked himself out of the hospital tonight to be here to see john lewis. after they said their hellos, he got back in the wheelchair and said take me back to the ospital. i'm thanked to this day for bringing john to our community. when you would pass john in the halls of congress and he would greet you with, hello, my brother, he made you believe that you were actually his
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brother. we must all commit to working harder to be a little more like john lewis. good-bye, john, and thank you. godspeed, my brother. mr. neal: madam speaker, i'd like to recognize now the gentleman from connecticut, mr. larson, for two minutes. mr. larson: thank you, chairman neal. what an honor to be here with the ways and means family. they say pictures are worth a thousand words. i'm going to try to go through these as rapidly as i can that first picture is my son and daughter who came as mike was just explaining as part of the family to the edmund pettus bridge. but they had to be back in school the next day so they couldn't actually march across the bridge that sunday. john said wait a minute, they won't do. he put them in a car, drove them out there and for 20 minutes
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talked to them about that experience what it was and it was very tense, very graphic, and the violence that he endured and what they went through. i could see both my daughter and my son looking at him, they were taking it all in, and my daughter very innocently, she was 13 at the time, said, mr. lewis did you ever have any fun? an john lewis put his head back and had the broadest grin and said, well sure, darling, we did. you know at night we used to go back and we'd pitch our tents and we'd make campfires and we sat around and told stories and we sang and we danced, and he said, i can still see andy young and his -- in his coveralls doing the jitterbug and he could dance. andy young in his coveralls doing the jitterbug. let me just say, i'll submit for the record the other items.
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but this iconic photo says it all about john lewis. on the day we passed the affordable care act, the day before he had been spat on. so was mr. -- reverend cleaver and so were others who were walking over here to vote on that bill that day butlewis said no. we had a caucus that morning with president obama. he said say nothing of. this remember that during the movement, we cast this aside. that is a distraction. don't be taken in by this crowd. we learned about it the next day and at that caucus i asked him to get up and address the caucus. he said let's stay calm, let's stay together and let's make sure that we keep our eye on the prize. he went to walk away from the microphone and hen -- and then he stepped back and said, 45 years to the day, we marched from selma to montgomery.
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he said, let me tell you, we faced far worse crowds than are out here today. so let's lock arms, let's go across that street and let's pass that bill. and we did. i yield back. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for two minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. chairman, for convening our ways and means family. it was bittersweet moment this morning as we gathered outside the capitol saying good-bye to john. his visits to portland touched thousands of people and i heard so much about them. he was not just a civil rights icon. and a tremendous human being. and an inspiration. he was the moral compass of our
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ways and means committee. he was the living, breathing manifestation of policy that impacts every family in america. not just merely numbers and dry policy but things that matter. too seldom does the consideration of everyday citizens, especially the poor, the weak, and the disadvantaged, get the same attention as the rich and powerful and well connected. that's not the fault ofon lewis. and i would hope that all of us would be inspired here who are celebrating his life would be inspired by his deeds. by his life's work. ason would say, not just our work, our word, but our deeds. and i hope our moral compass of the ways and means committee will guide us as we move forward to give the american people the
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policies that john would have expected. thank you. mr. neal: thank you. madam speaker, let me recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania, our friend, mr. kelly, who asked me on the floor last week, will the committee be paying a tribute to john lewis? mr. kelly is recognized. mr. kelly: we all have these memories of mr. lewis, some of you knew him far longer and far better than i did. i can just tell you this. the time i spent with mr. lewis that i remember the most was not so much in a committee hearing or not so much on the floor, but in march of 2015 when i took my 8-year-old grandson to selma for the 50th anniversary of crossing the edmund pettus bridge. we started off in birmingham and went to the 16th street baptist church and george, my grandson, could not understand. he was looking at men in hoods and saying who are those guys?
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i said those are the ku klux klan. he said who are they? i said they are people you don't want to be associated with, they're haters. he said what did they do? he saids the church they bombed, they killed little girls who were practicing for choir. he said why would anybody want to kill little girls? i said because they were filled with hate. mr. lewis was there, and i said i just want you to meet my grandson george. he stopped and talked to scrorge and george said to him, mr. lewis why do they have on hoods? if they're so tough and they're so brave and they're so courageous, why do they have to wear a hood? and he said george, at 8 years old, you get it far better than some adults do. now we go to the edmund pettus bridge. and mr. lewis stops to take time to talk to a little boy. not for a minute. not -- if you stand off to the
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side, son, i'll get withulater on. he stopped, walk aid way from other people, who are surrounding him and talking to him and he stoops down and talks to an 8-year-old boy to tell him how proud he is that that child is going to walk across the edmund pettus bridge with him. and as i watched that i thought, any better example could person give to a child than to spend that time with them? and i thought at that point, mr. lewis and i are both grandfathers. what an example for grandfathers. not just an example for a fellow american, but what an example of who this man really was. if you look on his tombstone it'll say born february 21, 1940, died july 17, 2020, right? 80 years. the time between his birth and the time between his death. are some of the most significant
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years in our country's history of someone who stopped to recognize what was going on and said not on my time. i will do anything i can to change this. i will go through any sacrifice. i will endure any type of pain. any type of ridicule. any type of beatings, to prove a point to say it is time. one thing i always thought, i never ever called him john, by the way, i thought it would be disrespectful. some of you know him much better than i did, so it was always mr. lewis. mr. lewis every time i'd see him, i would say good morning, mr. lewis, he'd say, good morning my brother. i would say, mr. lewis, it was good being with you. he would say, it was good being with you, my brother. i say tonight as we are here we are not saying good-bye my brother. we're saying until we meet again, my brother. what a phenomenal human being and somebody who is going to be missed forever.
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80 years of being the finest example of humankind he could possibly be. mr. chairman, thank you for allowing us to speak tonight. this is truly a family in ways and means and we really do appreciate each other. thank you so much. mr. neal:: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. doggett, for two minutes. mr. doggett: thank you so much. for the past three years it's been my good fortune to sit next to john lewis on the dais of the ways and means committee. his warmth, his humility, his lack of bitterness after all he endured were truly extraordinary. his decades of service touched so many lives. with his multivolume graphic novel "march" he found a way to reach a younger audience with his enduring message of struggle, hope and love. reading it to my own grandchildren, they were hooked early when john talked about the fact that as a young boy he preached to his chickens and
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that is how he became the great orator that we know him as being. he noted that they would never quite say amen. the dedication in "march" reads, to the past and future children of the movement. not just this work but his entire life's work was dedicated to the past and future children of the movement. for all that you have done for all our children, john, we say, amen. john knew that america could not call itself a democracy until everyone could cast a ballot and that the struggle for voting rights was a struggle for democracy itself. he dedicated himself to completing the promise of the declaration of independence as he exhorted the crowd down the mall here at the lincoln memorial, at the march on washington, to get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this
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nation. until true freedom comes. until the revolution of 1776 is complete. and again in 2015, as he annually commemorated that march across the edmund pettus bridge, john asked, get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of america. john lewis work sod tirelessly to get in good trouble. when the l.b.j. foundation from austin awarded him with the liberty and justice for all award i learned he had experienced over 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, but then i'd see him sitting next to him, some of the marks on his balding head of those very attacks. through it all, he maintained that good trouble was what america really needed. there will never be a time when america can afford to forget the legacy of john lewis. he fought so long so selflessly to advance our democracy, and he
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called the right to vote sacred. we honor his tireless labor by picking up the baton and voting. we honor his legacy when we vote and enable more of our friends and neighbors to do the same. john lewis now rests but we cannot. inspired by his sacrifice, we must continue his struggle. no one could ever replace him but no one person must. there are so many who share john lewis' dream. and we will grow our numbers and when we do, we will overcome. yield back. mr. neal: let me recognize a very close friend of john lewis, the gentleman from chicago, illinois, mr. davis, for two minutes. mr. davis: thank you, mr. chairman, for bringing us together. if there were angels on earth,
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john would be one. the most angelic person i have ever known. generous to a fault. easy to get along with. john was known for marching, but i'm reminded that the bible says that the step of a good man -- steps of a good man are ordered by the lord. ohn was and is a good man. always looking out for the underdog. always looking out for the disadvantaged, the poor, the needy, the hopeless, the helpless. and so john has been an inspiration for me for more than 50 years. i mean, he was a mere teenager. so if i had a message, i'd say
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that the songwriter probably had john in mind when he said, if you give the best of your service, telling the world that the savior is come -- has come. be not dismayed when men don't believe you. pick up the cross and run swiftly to him. he'll understand and we all say, john, well done. well done. i yield back. mr. neal: let me recognize the gentlelady from california, ms. anchez, for two minutes. mr. sanford: i thank the chairman for yielding -- ms. sanchez: i thank the chairman for yielding. i rise today with a heavy heart.
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few men ever achieve what john lewis has in his life. and few men do so while genuinely caring about every single person they meet. when i joined the ways and means committee as a new member, john made a point to make me feel welcome. despite all that he had accomplished in his life, john was never too busy or too important for you. john made such a profound impact on all of us because his kindness, humility and gentle strength were rooted in his nature. he understood that his life's work could never be finished, and he never missed an opportunity to inspire younger generations to carry that work forward. i will never forget when john's inspiration healed deep wounds in my own community. in 2005, a high school in my district was struggling with racial tensions between black and latinx students. students were hopelessly divided and john offered to
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visit the high school with me. he spoke to students and their parents and helped them understand that the civil rights movement benefited all disenfranchised communities. and he reminded us that when minority communities allow ourselves to be pitted against each other, we all suffer. as serious as john was, he also had a light-hearted and fun side to him as well. i will never forget when he ade a video of himself dancing gangnum style to encourage young people to vote. he was up for anything that promoted voting and civic engagement. john had a profound impact on my son, joaquin, when we walked together in selma, across the edmund pettus bridge. joaquin, who was 7 at the time, was able to walk with john lewis and retrace the footsteps of history with a living legend. joaquin was so moved that he read all of john's books and
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wrote a report on him during a unit on african-american history in school. i will always cherish the memories that my family and i were lucky enough to share with john. it is a cruel irony that we should lose john when the qualities that made him great are needed so desperately today in our government. but his passing is a heartbreaking reminder of what really matters. because of john, we know that ridding our society of injustice requires all of us to get in good trouble. because of john, we know we can with stand true adversity -- withstand true adversity. history will remember john lewis as a hero who made the world better for all. it's worth remembering that he did so by showing and reminding us all to be better versions of ourselves. i am so grateful to have called him a friend, a colleague and a mentor. my husband and son were here
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this morning to say good-bye to mr. lewis for the last time. my son thought it was important to see him off on his journey to walk with angels. we will miss him dearly and i yield back. mr. neal: we thank the gentlelady. with that, let me recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. iggins, for two minutes. mr. higgins: thank you, mr. chairman. and colleagues. this has been said, john lewis grew up on a chicken farm to sharecroppers in troy, alabama. and during that time, there was great pain and suffering for our african-american brothers and sisters in the segregated
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south. so john lewis' mother, in the summer of 1951, when john was 11, wanted to get him out of the heat of the segregated south, and she sent him to a place called buffalo, new york. my hometown. and mrs. lewis had baked for three days because stopping in a diner along the way with not -- was not an option for the lewis family. john lewis, when he got to buffalo, he saw young kids, black and white, playing together in a park, now appropriately called martin luther king park. he saw white women and black women drinking from the same water fountain. he saw his uncles, black men, in the side white men steel and flour mills of buffalo, new york. it was from that experience in
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buffalo, in the summer of 1951, at the age of 11, that john said that he believed that desegregation of the south was possible and he committed his life's work to that cause. on march 7, 1965, as we know, john led a peaceful civil rights march over the edmund pettus bridge. the idea was to march from selma to montgomery, the state's capitol -- capital, a distance of about 55 miles. there were 148 state troopers waiting at the foot of the bridge for john and the peaceful demonstrators. , cease troopers said and disperse. john led his fellow marchers and they kneeled and prayed and then they were attracted. they broke john's skull. but before john went to the
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hospital to be administered to, he insisted on waiting until the news media got there. and blood pouring down his face, he admonished the president of the united states to take up the civil rights cause. on august 6 that year, the civil rights act was signed into law by president johnson. hn said that -- he said that oddly one time, he said that he was grateful for the police beating. because had that event not occurred, had that not become bloody sunday, it would have just passed as a local news story. and nobody would have witnessed it and nothing would have changed. and john always said, you sometimes have to give a little blood to redeem the soul of a nation. the civil rights act of 1965 is
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a testament to the vision of john lewis, man of goodness and a man of grace who at the age of 11, in the summer of 1951, was inspired by what he saw in buffalo and had the presence of mind and the courage to act on that inspiration. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. with that, let me recognize the gentlelady from selma, alabama, ms. sewell, for two minutes. ms. sewell: madam speaker, i rise again to honor the life and legacy of john robert lewis. a civil rights hero, mentor and dear friend. it's rare that you grow up to meet your hero and rarer still that you get to befriend them. growing up in selma, alabama,
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and a life long member of brown chapel a.m.e. church, year after year i would sit and marvel at those foot soldiers coming to my church to re-enact that bloody sunday. there was coretta scott king and joseph lawyery. there was amelia bowing robinson, but of course there was john lewis. never in my wildest dreams did i think that i would grow up and become alabama's first black congresswoman. and not only walk the halls with john lewis, but get to sit on the same committee with john lewis. john was a slice of home for me in congress. you see, looking into his eyes, i would see home. and all i would want to do is emulate home. john was a chief deputy whip, so i wanted to be a chief deputy wit. john was on the ways and means committee -- whip. john was on the ways and means committee. it sounded good to me.
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ohn was always allowing people to radiate in his smile and in his light. he could never talk about voting rights. if i were within an earshot he would say, and terry sewell represents alabama -- terri sewell represents alabama, where's terri? and we'd laugh. those mosts were so precious to me. those are the moments i cherish. when i would call him the boy from troy and he would call me the girl from selma. i would say, but, john, we have so much more to do. but he would remind me, remind me that the better days of our nation were ahead of it. i don't know how i will continue to fight for the right to vote and restore the voting rights act that he shed a little blood on a bridge in my hometown for. but i know that i'm not alone.
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sowed n has sewed -- seeds of hope and inspiration into many of us. we're all disciples of john and we all owe it to him to pick up that mantle. and continue the march. the march to a more perfect union. can't you hear him? just close your eyes. if you see something that's unjust, unfair, you have a moral obligation to do something about it. to get in the way. never give up. never give in. keep the faith. keep your eyes on the prize. rest in peace, my friend. know that we all will pick up that mantle and continue your march. mr. neal: i thank the gentlelady. let me recognize the gentlelady
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from washington state, ms. delbene, for two minutes. mr. elbene: thank you, chairman. and thanks so much for pulling together this tribute for the amazing john lewis. i was born in selma, alabama. and i was 3 years old when john lewis crossed the edmund pettus bridge. and my family moved away when i was young. but i still carried my birth place, when we moved quite frequently and every new town we'd go to, i'd go to a school, a teacher would ask where i was born, i'd say, selma, and that started a whole conversation about what happened in selma. it's on my passport. selma, alabama. so many people who have seen that, who started a conversation about what john lewis and so many people did, crossing that bridge in selma. so the story has become part of
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me. part of my life. and i never, ever imagined, first, that i'd be a member of congress. let alone have the opportunity to serve on ways and means committee with my hero, john lewis. one of the first trips i ever took as a member of congress was to go to selma, to go back to my birth place. with terri sewell, with john lewis. we were the selma caucus, the three of us on the ways and means committee. and just to be able to experience that, to talk to john, i had the chance to go to south africa with john when he gave a talk at the 50th anniversary of bobby kennedy's ripples of hope speech. and talked to john and hear his stories. he always -- he lifted all of us up. he was an icon and yet when you were with him, i think we all became better people.
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he lifted us up and he reminded all of us, in fact he showed all of us what's possible, what each of us can do, how we can create change if we stand up, if we speak up for what is right and for what is just. and what is fair. so we will continue to honor john, each of us, by doing that . by speaking out, by getting into good trouble, necessary trouble. and john, we'll always remember our words, your kindness, your leadership. thank you for passing a little bit of that on to each of us. rest in peace. we'll miss you terribly. i yield back. mr. neal: let me recognize the gentlelady from california, ms. hu, for two minutes.
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ms. chu: i rise today to honor my friend and colleague john lewis. to say john was a civil rights icon barely captures his legacy, he was so much more than that. he was a living piece of the civil rights movement, a connection to historic injustice and a reminder of our power to remedy it. he didn't just talk about voting rights. he nearly died defending the right to vote. and because of him and his determination to do what's right, to stand up to injustice whenever he saw it, and to cause a little good trouble whenever it was needed, our country is a more just and equitable one. it was one of the greatest privileges of my life to i was not only able to serve alongside john on the ways and means committee, but i was able to march alongside him as well.
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in alabama he led many of us on the annual pilgrimage to selma across the edmund pettus bridge. but throughout his life, john gave voice to the voiceless, fought to empow they are epowersless, and stood up for those who cowl not. i will never forget that june day here in washington, d.c. after 49 people were shot dead in florida in yet another senseless mass shooting. john said enough is enough. he came to the house floor, right there in fact, and sat down. we joined him for 26 straight hours while the nation tuned in, transfixed. when the president was keeping immigrant children in cages, john led us on a march to the c.b.p. offices to demand these children be released. it was so hot and humid that many of us felt like fainting. but i looked over at john and there he was, still standing strong and marching.
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i thought to myself, his strength is the result of decades of civil disobedience. this past week, we passed a historic no ban act to stop a travel ban against muslims and it was john that three years ago went to the atlanta airport when the ban was first announced to demand answers and release. and when he was essentially ignored by cus doms and border protection he started a sit-in right that moment at the airport. john was always a moral voice, urging us to think of others and do -- to do all we can to improve their lives. even in the face of the worst, john never stopped believing in our capacity for the best. i will miss him and his guidance. john may be gone but we will keep marching.
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mr. neal: i thank the gentlelady. let me recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. kildee, for two minutes. mr. kildee: first of all, thank you, mr. chairman. for recognizing me but particularly for arranging for this opportunity for the ways and means committee to come together to honor our brother, john lewis. just listening to our -- to my colleagues, gives me a greater sense of just how privileges we all have been. i think we often take for granted the people who are around us and i don't think we could ever take john for granted but to a certain extent when i arrived here, you know, i got used to seeing him on the floor. it's hard to come to this floor without having a little bit of anticipation that of the many privileges that come with serving our country in this place, the one privilege i could always count on is that even on those tough days, when the job
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wasn't so great, you could always plan on seeing john lewis and get some encouragement from him. i meton before i came to congress eight years ago through my uncle dale. dale kildee served here for a long time. served almost a quarter century with john and loved john. still does. i talked to dale about john quite often. that was a relationship that led to me wanting to make sure that i tried to develop that same relationship and of course becoming a member of the ways and means committee we spend so much time together. despite the fact that we haven't been able to the last couple of months, as a committee, we spend an enormous amount of time working together, having meals together, talking to one another. it felt like i had a chance to get so much closer to john and i will never forget that. as big and monument also a life as he led, as important a voice as he was, such a soldier for
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justice and a figure in american history, as good and decent as a man he was in that respect, as we all know now, of course, is that he was that good a friend. he was that good a human being. he was that generous a person. for me, the last couple of months, obviously it's been hard but it's been special. because john under our temporary rules, john, of course, hasn't been able to be with us in these last couple of months as he was battling his sickness. but asked if i would be willing to carry his proxy and cast his votes here on the floor. i don't know that a greater honor could ever be bestowed upon me by him but he was always grateful to me. i had to speak to him before each vote series. he was always so grateful. i thought to myself, john, i'm grate to feel you. you've given me this honor to
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cast a vote for the person who is most known for the sacred right to vote of anyone in our generation, perhaps anyone in our nation's history. the way we honor him though is for moments like this. but the best way we honor him is to carry his work forward. to continue to do his work. so the way i view it, while for a couple of months i did carry his vote to this floor, even though john is gone, i think we can all continue to carry his vote, carry his voice, carry his work to this place and all across the country. thank you, mr. chairman, for giving us this opportunity. i yield back. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from kansas, mr. estes, for two minutes. mr. estes: thank you, mr. chairman. madam speaker, today i rise to honor the life and legacy of our colleague, john lewis.
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in my short time in congress i've had the privilege of working with john as member of the ways and means committee. in that time i can tell you john is a true statesman. here in washington and even inside this chamber, we see some chidges -- we see some individuals with personal ayen das only interested in transactional relationships. however,on was a compassionate soul dedicated to the cause of equality and justice. because of his experiences of discrimination an hate he brought to this body a thoughtful and passionate approach to ensuring that all americans can experience the blessings of liberty guaranteed in our constitution. he uh understood the pain of a divided nation, the progress we've made over the past sergery and the challenges we still face. through it all, he met anger and violence with peace and love, a demonstration of his character that i think all of us can learn from. i used to live in nashville, tennessee, and one of john's earliest acts was seeking peace with change and organizing
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sit-ins at nashville lunch counters. this is reminiscent to me of a courageous group of young people in my hometown, wichita, who sought equal treatment at a downtown lunch counter. the sit-in was part of early movement across the country that helped deseg regrate the nation. i'm thankful that the youth of wichita and men and women likeon lewis had the boldness and fortitude to advance changes in a racially segregated virmse. -- environment. while he served on -- while we served on different sides sides of the aisle his compassion for over was evident and his love of country up wavering. i'm grateful to have served alongside him in my tenure in congress and i'm grateful to his dedication to equality for americans, the georgians who represented and the united states. thank you for holding this special hour and i yield back. mr. neal: thank you.
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i yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. boyle, for two minutes. mr. boyle: thank you, mr. chairman, for organizing this opportunity for those of us who served with john on the ways and means committee to be able to come together as a committee and mourn him. i have to say standing here for the last hour or so, listening to all of my colleagues share their remembrances about john lewis, just how special he was to them, has been one of the best hours i have spent on the house floor and it's just been beautiful to listen to. i think it's a sign of congress that people rarely get to see -- a side of congress that people rarely get to see and i think all of us would be better off if we were able to do this more. when i hear the name john lewis, obviously this is one of the great american heroes in history. but that's not the first thing i
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think of. when he comes to mind, the first thing i think of was just what a kind and quiet and humble and gentle man he was. always so nice to me from my very first day as a freshman when i heard a voice behind me say, young man is this seat taken, and i looked to the side of me and it was john lewis and i couldn't even speak. he was just always that person. to everyone. and to me that is a great lesson that should inspire us all to be better people. i also believe as a matter of faith that i don't think it was an accident or a coincidence that the lord called him home at this time during this summer of crisis in our nation.
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america has not quite become. we are constantly in the act of becoming. america is a nation born not of a race or a tribe but out of ideas, a commitment to ideals. someone who firmly believes that with every fiber of his being, to deepen -- deep in his soul waslewis. throughout this year and at this time i know there are many in our society who are questioning the future of america. as it seems like we're coming apart at the seams. but let's listen to the voice again of john lewis. someone who never lost his faith and his optimism in this country. what it stands for, what it's called to be, and what he truly believed it will be. he gave his blood for this cause . he lived his life for it. and let him continue to be an
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example for all of us today. thank you, i yield back. mr. neal: thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from virginia, mr. beyer, for two minutes. mr. beyer: chairman neal, thank you for much for doing this. i found this the most healing experience since john's loss. mr. speaker, as we approach -- madam speaker, as we approach the end of our life it's fitting to think about how we will be remembered. will they say, was he brave? was he kind? was he humble? was he honest? time wipes all memories away and what's left, what impact do we have on the lives of others of the people that come. on lewis is the best of men, the most christlike person i have ever known. he changed the personal trajectories of tens of millions of people. born into poverty and racism,
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john has become the desperate hope that we need. it's been written, all life asks of it is we live it with courage. we all agree deeply and thank god for his life. i yield back. mr. neal: thank the gentleman. with that, let me recognize the gentleman from philadelphia, pennsylvania, mr. evans, for two minutes. mr. evans: mr. chairman, thank you for this opportunity. i rise to honor truly a great american. a
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enough to have as a colleague. for years, including two years serving together on the ways and means committee. congressman john lewis has been an inspiration for me from a very young age. i remember the first time i saw him on the walk to -- on the walter cronkite evening news. he was walking across the pettus bridge in selma. i was very strong about him and what he was doing. mr. chairman, i was 10 years old. i found him to be inspeiering. he was purposeful -- inspiring. he was purposeful. he was driven to make a difference. he was driven for good trouble. as a result of his actions, my work at the irvin league, because there was another gentleman who was a part of the big six, was whitney young, who was a part of that, and i worked at the league. i recall being elected in the
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pennsylvania state house at 26 years of age. john was john lewis's -- lewis' inspiration that had inspired me, though i'd never been to alabama, i saw him on television. i remember the impression he left upon me. because although i've heard all the words i've heard today, i never seen such determination. so you can imagine growing up in the city of philadelphia, in pennsylvania, him from selma, alabama, and the influence he was having. i also honored him by welcoming congressman lewis to the southeast part of pennsylvania for a gun reform ceasefire. i recall introducing him. i recall all of that. but now, mr. speaker, we must carry on his work of civil
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rights, equal opportunity. most of all, we must rededicate ourselves to protecting the right to vote. making use of hard-won rights. a right for which john lewis and many others sacrificed for all of us. so i saw to you, mr. speaker, and mr. chairman, he should rest in peace and power. thank you very much. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from illinois, mr. schneider, for two minutes. mr. schneider: madam speaker, mr. chairman, thank you for organizing this evening.
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this morning the capital -- capitol bid farewell for the last time to our colleague and friend, the american hero, our beloved john lewis. in the days since his passing, countless words have been delivered in tribute to john's life. his accomplishments. his character. his importance to our nation. i have no doubt in the years to come john lewis will take his place in our history books among not only the champions of the civil rights movement, but also in the pantheon of historical giants who have literally reshaped the foundation and recalibrated the moral compass of our nation. but as our speaker clearly recognized on tuesday, when his body was brought to lie in state under the capitol's dome, no words, no matter how great the tribute, can match those of john himself. from his famous speech in 1963 at the march on washington, to his frequent and inspired remarked to his fellow members of congress, often in what
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seemed like the darkest moments, john's -- john lewis' voice thundered, but his words were always uplifting. he talked to us about good trouble, noting that there's nothing wrong with a little agitation for what's right and what's fair. he instructed us to see all sides of an issue. you have to tell the whole truth, the good and the bad, maybe some things that are uncomfortable for some people. and he always, always looked to the future with hope and optimism. take a long, hard look down the road you will have to travel once you have made the commitment to work for change. know that this transformation will not happen right away. change often takes time. but he also said, if you're not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. you have to take a long, hard look and just believe that if you're consistent, you'll succeed. john may have left this earth, but his inspiration remains
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deep within us. i hope in the days ahead we can honor his memory by passing a law that -- by passing the law, the john lewis voting rights act. and wouldn't it be fitting to rename the edmund pettus bridge, where 55 years ago john put his life on the line to change the world, the john lewis memorial bridge, to reflect the change that john brought to the world? may his memory remain a blessing for each of us and for our country at these most difficult times. and hopefully in better times ahead. i yield back the remainder of my time. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. madam speaker, let me recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. suozzi, for two minutes. mr. suozzi: thank you, mr. chairman. it was such a great gift and honor when john lewis would call me, like he called many of us, my brother. to serve on his committee, to ask him to give the closing
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prayer at this year's national prayer breakfast, to travel to selma with him. and, like all he came in contact with, to learn from him. when the christian church was in its infancy, there was tremendous in-fighting. different tribes and sects, different personalities battling over the direction of this new organization that would go on to transform the world. paul the apostle, one of the earliest and most prolific leaders, was imprisoned by the romans and ultimately beheaded for his belief in jesus. while in prison, in 162 a.d., paul wrote a series of letters to the followers of jesus, instructing them how to conduct themselves. in his letter, paul gave this instruction in chapter 4, verses 1-3. quote, i then, a prisoner for the lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you
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have received. with all humility and gentleness. with patience. bearing with underanother through love. striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. john lewis, also a prisoner for the lord many times, lived that model life. worthy of his calling with humility and gentleness, with patience. bearing with everyone through love, striving to preserve unity through the bond of peace. john lewis showed us that strength comes from humility and gentleness and patience and love, striving for unity through peace. i know i need to be better. thank you, john lewis. rest in peace, good and faithful servant. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize now -- the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2019, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. kelly, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. jerry kelly thank you, madam chair -- mr. kelly: thank you, madam chair. i would like to give those minutes to mr. neal. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kelly: thank you, mr. kelly -- mr. neal: thank you, mr. kelly. let me recognize the gentleman from california, mr. panetta, for two minutes. mr. panetta: thank you, mr. chairman. madam speaker. mr. chairman, thank you for allowing and having this special order in which we rise, remember and recognize one of our country's civil rights champions, one of america's heroes, my friend, our colleague, and, yes, the conscience of congress, congressman john robert lewis. now, unlike some other members that spoke earlier, even though john was a fellow member of congress, he was a fellow member on the ways and means committee, i have to say, i
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never got used to having john lewis as a fellow colleague. as mr. kelly alluded to, and said, i should say, we do have a family here on the ways and means committee. but it was clear that john was that favored child. all of us, all of us were in awe as to everything he did and everything that john stood for. and that's part of the reason why my wife and i took our two daughters down to selma, alabama, this last march to walk arm in arm with john lewis across the edmund pettus bridge for the last time. now, obviously with the ceremonies this week in john's passing, we've been thinking a lot about john. but this past weekend, i could not get him out of my head. and it resonated with me the most when my wife and i took our two daughters up to gettysburg, pennsylvania, and we stood on the battlefield in that cemetery and at that monument, and read the speech that president lincoln gave to
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consecrate that hallowed ground. and i can tell you what -- it reminded me of the lifelong fight of john lewis it. reminded me of our nation's lifelong fight for equality. and it reminded me of our continued fight today. and you'll see what i mean when i use some of that speech in my following remarks. although we are a nation conceived in liberty and equality, it seems that as if now our nation is divided. and being tested as to whether we can endure together. now, we gather here tonight to honor the death of a man who literally shed blood so that our nation can live together. but in a larger sense, what we say here tonight is nothing compared to what john lewis did throughout his life. see, as with most of our speeches on the house floor, the world will little note nor long remember what we say here tonight. but it can never forget what john did. not only in this chamber, but also for the civil rights and
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for this country. so it is for us, from congress members to front line workers to peaceful protesters, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which john fought for and so nobly advanced. and with the passing of john lewis, let us be dedicated to the task remaining before us. that from john's life we take increased devotion to the cause for which he gave fulmer of devotion, that we here highly resolve that his actions, his service, his sacrifice shall never be in vain. that this nation, under god, shall continue to have freedom and equality and that our government, of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall never perish from this earth, but shall always live with the conscience of our country, john robert lewis. thank you, i yield back. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from california, mr. gomez, for
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two minutes. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. chairman, for -- mr. gomez: thank you, mr. chairman, for doing this special order hour on -- to remember the life of john lewis. he called other people brother. he called me young brother. so i guess i was the little guy. but he was such an amazing man. he had a huge character, he was a civil rights giant who amplified the voices of a generation. you know, his commitment to dismantling hatred and oppression in whatever its form was something that inspired generations. and it's something that we all know that we stand on his shoulders, on our own fights for greater equality in this country. his strength and resolve showcased during the nashville sit-in movement, the freedom rights -- rides and the march
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to -- march on washington gave us the momentum to carry on through adversity and taught us what it means to get into some good trouble. and those who knew john and marched with him, whether it protest the detention of immigrant children as did i a few years ago, or to speak out against racial injustice, always felt a little bit more hopeful when he was around. you know, it created that little bit of ripple of hope from person to person when he was marching with you. but i believe he also created a little bit of a ripple of change in every single person he met, that transformed and empowered communities. and for future generations still unborn. that's the kind of legacy he left. but i also got to see him as just a humble person, a regular person. and i notice when i first -- when we would walk from the ways and means committee room back here to vote, i would always kind of walk with him and people would come up and
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ask for a photograph. schoolchildren and adults alike. and they would get around him and, you know, i was pushed aside and i took the phone and i was proud to take the photographs. and he would always say, hi, i'm john lewis. where are you from? what's your name and where are you from? and he took that moment to make it about them. right? not about him. about them. and imagine if we were all like that. we just paused a little bit. and took the moment to make it about the other person. the other party. the other state. the other person from a different country. right? imagine what this country would be like. it would be a lot better. it would be a lot more hopeful. and would create that ripple of change that we all desire. i know john is getting up to the pearly gates of heaven with st. peter, who is the guardian
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of those gates, and john is going to say, hi, i'm john lewis. nice to meet you. with that, i yield back. mr. neal: i thank the gentleman. thank you, madam speaker. the nation had a chance tonight to hear about the affection and regard that we held for a very important member of the ways and means family, john lewis. i do want to thank mr. kelly. he did urge at a moment last week, he said, i hope that we'll be able to do a bipartisan tribute to john. i said, we plan one and we want to make sure you're involved. i'm just going to close on this note as we travel to atlanta tomorrow to say good-bye to ohn. two years ago, with a very distinct issued of the party, charlie rangel came over to the dinner, john and myself and foamer chairman were talking at the end of the night and after
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the conversation, when john got up and left, charlie rangel said to me, he said, you know, rich, there are many of us who did the right thing looping the right way in the civil rights movement. he said, john lewis would have died for the cause. pretty remarkable, that he would have died for the cause. i thank the house and the ways and means family to a nice tribe tribute. >> thank you so much. we are a family and that really >> today the funeral service for
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representative john lewis at the church once led by martin luther king jr. former president barack obama will give the eulogy and former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton will be in attendance along with former vice president joe biden. ts on c-span 3, online at or listen on the free c-span app. ncy pelosi and chuck schumer spoke on coronavirus relief legislation. speaker pelosi: good afternoon. we just ended another session. thank you. we just ended another session.


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