May 8, 2011
Reid Statement on Mother’s Day
Washington, D.C. — Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement in honor of Mother’s Day:
“I wish families across the country a happy Mother’s Day as we give thanks for the hard work mothers do every day.
“Like so many mothers, mine told me I could achieve any dream if I put my mind to it. Her words have guided me through my years in public service. They’re why I work hard in the Senate to protect Nevada families, so every mother can not only encourage her children to dream but also help those children make their dreams reality. As more and more mothers choose to enter the workforce, Congress must also continue working to make sure women are treated equally in the workplace, while making it easier on parents to balance their careers with the work of raising their families.
“Mothers in Nevada and across America are tenacious advocates for their families – keeping their children safe and making sure they have every opportunity to grow and achieve. And we in Congress must in turn be advocates for those moms – ensuring their children have clean air to breath and water to drink, that they learn in a world-class educational system and that they have access to the best health care in the world, no matter where they’re from or how much money their families have.”
May 6, 2011
No Retreat For House GOP On Medicare
After Day Of Confused Messaging, House GOP Leaders Re- Commit To Plan To End Medicare As We Know It
Schumer: GOP Tried To Throw Medicare Privatization Plan Overboard But It Is An Anchor Still Tied Around Their Ankles
WASHINGTON, DC—Earlier this week, there were reports that House Republicans might remove their plan to end Medicare from their budget proposal. But Republicans in both the House and Senate quickly defended the original plan, which would end Medicare as we know it and double out-of-pocket costs for millions of seniors.
“House Republicans tried throwing their Medicare plan overboard, but it is still an anchor tied around their ankles. They may not want to embrace the plan anymore, but they still own it,” U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said.
Below is a round-up of top Republicans who raced yesterday to double down in support of their plan to privatize Medicare.
Speaker Boehner: Plan to End Medicare “Absolutely Not” Off the Table. Speaker John Boehner tweeted, “Saving Medicare off the table? Absolutely not.” [Boehner Tweet, 5/5/11]
Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Position “Is the Ryan Budget, Period.” Including Plan to End Medicare. “Eric made very clear that our position is the Ryan budget which — as you know — assumes a debt limit increase and includes Medicare, Medicaid and $715 billion in mandatory savings,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told POLITICO. “Whether the Democrats will agree to the proposals we’ve outlined is yet to be seen, but that is our starting point so we don’t continue to kick the can down the road and make real cuts and real reforms this year.” “To be clear, the Republican position is the Ryan budget, period,” spokeswoman Laena Fallon said in an email to reporters. [Politico, 5/4/11; The Hill, 5/5/11]
Rep. Joe Walsh: “I Would Be Very Disappointed If We Didn’t Follow Through” With Plan to End Medicare. “I would be very disappointed if we didn’t follow through,” said Representative Joe Walsh. “We have spent, gosh, a month or two now trying to educate the American people to a pretty good reception. I appreciate the chairman’s notion, but I would continue to respectfully challenge him to get this thing through committee.” [New York Times, 5/6/11]
Sen. Rob Portman: “It’s Not a Wise Strategy to Be Taking Things Off the Table.” “It’s not a wise strategy to be taking things off the table today before we’ve begun any discussion to find consensus. I would hope that instead of talking about what’s not on the table we’d be talking about how to find consensus,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush administration, told reporters Thursday. [Washington Post, 5/5/11]
Sen. Ron Johnson “Disappointed” If Plan to End Medicare Isn’t in GOP Budget. After it was reported that Medicare would be removed from the Republican plan, Sen. Ron Johnson said he was “disappointed” by the report. [Financial Times, 5/6/11]
Rep. Jeff Flake: “Surprised” to Hear Rumors of GOP Pulling Back on Medicare. “I don’t know how you can continue to exclude entitlement spending,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), who said he was “surprised to hear the talk of pulling back” GOP expectations. [Wall Street Journal, 5/6/11]
May 6, 2011
Reid: To Keep Our Economy Moving In The Right Direction We Need To Work Together To Protect Middle Class Families
Washington, D.C. — Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement regarding the April employment figures released this morning showing that our economy added 244,000 jobs last month:
“Today’s news that the economy added 244,000 jobs, including the most private sector jobs in over five years, is more evidence that our economy is headed back on the right track.”
“But many people in Nevada and across America are still facing tough times. That’s why Democrats remain focused on putting Americans back to work. Republicans on the other hand are wasting time on partisan grandstanding, and this week blocked a bill to help small businesses innovate, grow and hire. This is not the time to be distracted by these political games – it’s time they join us in putting middle class families first and help us pass the common-sense measures that will help out economy continue to grow.”
May 5, 2011
Reid Remarks On Cinco de Mayo
Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks at today’s Congressional Cinco de Mayo Reception. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The world loves the underdog. Since David defeated Goliath, people of every heritage have found inspiration in the stories of unlikely victors.
“Cinco de Mayo is one of the most inspiring such stories – the tale of a fearless force that was easily outnumbered, but could not be out-matched. At the Battle of Puebla 149 years ago today, there were two French fighters for every Mexican determined to defend his land – but the determination of Zaragoza’s army could not be conquered.
“These many years later, we celebrate more than just the small size of the winning army. Cinco de Mayo is about what those rugged and ragged warriors fought for: freedom, liberty, dignity.
“Zaragoza’s troops resisted invasion because they held fast to a simple principle: they believed in the universal right to control their own destiny.
“We know this cause well. It is the same principle for which America’s first patriots fought our own European foe a century earlier. It is born of the same ideals – the same ingredients of independence – that still pull passionate citizens into their cities’ streets.
“That sacred struggle for sovereignty – be it political sovereignty or personal sovereignty – is what we fight for every day in the halls of Congress.
“We fight for the right of a patient not to be abused by an insurance company. The right of a homeowner not to be taken advantage of by a con artist selling a scam mortgage. The right of a worker who responsibly saves his money not to be swindled by an unscrupulous big bank – not to fall victim to fraudsters who manipulate the markets. The right of a driver at the gas pump not to be ripped off by a big oil company making money hand over fist. And we fight for the right of every American to be free from fear and terror.
“Today we honor those who win the wars nobody thinks they have a chance to win. We celebrate those who go to battle armed with little more than courage and the confidence that they are fighting the good fight.
“The victory of Cinco de Mayo endures. On the fifth of May in the year 2011, Mexico is still free. The Mexican-American community is more pivotal than ever to the future of our diverse society. The Hispanic heritage in this country has never been stronger. This holiday has grown from a day our Hispanic community celebrates to one all Americans observe. And since the victory of a small band of believers at the Battle of Puebla, no force from another continent has ever invaded the Americas.
“The bravery displayed in that battle still inspires the world – and the dedication of Mexican-Americans to the spirit of that fight continues to improve it.”
May 5, 2011
Reid Statement On National Day Of Prayer
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement regarding National Day of Prayer:
“Faith is a deeply personal subject, but also one that can bring us together as we work toward a brighter future. My own faith has guided me throughout my time serving Nevada. It is a blessing in my life, as are my wife, my family and my friends.
“Today and every day I pray for the men and women of our armed forces, intelligence community and foreign services, who protect this country with valor and professionalism. And I join with all Americans to pray for the future of our great nation.”
May 4, 2011
POLL: GOP Plan To End Medicare “Wildly Unpopular”
Key point: “Changes to Medicare and Medicaid remain wildly unpopular and more than two-thirds of registered voters want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for households that make more than $250,000 a year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.”
Voters Dislike GOP Plan to Change Medicare, Medicaid
By Patrick O’Connor
Republicans have some selling to do.
Changes to Medicare and Medicaid remain wildly unpopular and more than two-thirds of registered voters want to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for households that make more than $250,000 a year, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
More than twice as many voters oppose efforts to change Medicare than those who favor limiting benefits under the popular health-care program for seniors. And a distinct majority opposes new limits on Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor.
What’s worse for the GOP, the numbers don’t change much when voters were told how much federal spending Medicare and Medicaid consume.
Quinnipiac told half of the 1,408 registered voters the university polled that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense spending consume 60% of the budget. The other half weren’t. Among those who were told, 70% opposed efforts to change Medicare, compared with the 75% who weren’t told. For Medicaid, 57% of the first group opposed limits, compared with the 59% of the control group that also opposed changes. The only significant change came on the question of defense spending, with support for cuts increasing by 7% when voters were told how much the government spends on the military.
“So much for the idea that if the public only understood the budget numbers they would be much more amenable to reductions,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of polling at the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Except for defense spending.”
The House Republicans’ budget would turn Medicaid into a system of block grants to the states and transform Medicare from a fee-for-service program to a menu of subsidized private insurance plans for people under the age of 55. Many GOP lawmakers got an earful from their constituents about the budget blueprint during a recently concluded two-week recess.
In addition, 69% of the voters polled favor repealing Bush-era tax breaks on households than earn more than $250,000. Republicans would keep the current rates indefinitely, while President Barack Obama has promised to raise them for people whose income exceeds $250,000.
May 4, 2011
In Letter, Reid, Menendez Urge End To Wasteful Handouts To Big Oil Companies
Call On Senate Colleagues To Join Effort To Close Tax Loopholes And End Unneeded Subsidies For Big Oil Companies That Rake In Record Profits While Hiking Prices
Money Saved By Revoking Handouts Will Go Towards Reducing The Deficit
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez today urged Senate colleagues to join them in ending wasteful taxpayer handouts to big oil companies making record profits while American families make sacrifices to afford rising prices at the pump, and use the savings to reduce the deficit.
Over the last decade, the nation’s five largest oil companies have taken home nearly $1 trillion in profits and tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Every year, taxpayers are giving away more than $4 billion to oil companies in the form of tax deductions, subsidies and royalty relief, the letter says. Meanwhile, they’ve hiked gas prices to $4.00 a gallon in some states.
And CEOs from the Big 5 oil companies have testified that they do not need incentives for oil exploration. And even Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan have said it is time to look at cutting oil subsidies.
“Every one of us is hearing from families back home who are struggling with rising gas prices. At the same time, we’re reading this week about the record-breaking profits that the major oil companies are raking in– more than $30 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2011 alone. Something just doesn’t add up. Now that the five biggest oil companies have become some of the most profitable companies in the world, taxpayers shouldering $4 a gallon gas prices should not have to foot the bill for tens of billions of outdated, unnecessary subsidies that go straight into the pockets of oil industry executives particularly in light of our increasing deficit. Just as we ask families to do their part to help reduce the deficit, Big oil companies need to step up to the plate and share in the sacrifice.”
The senators believe it is time to work on a bipartisan basis to ask oil companies to pay their fair share and help us lower the deficit.
“By working together to end these wasteful giveaways to oil companies, we will not only make the tax code more fair, but we will decrease the federal deficit by tens of billions of dollars over the next ten years,” they wrote. “To a family struggling to pay rising gas prices, this is not a partisan or political issue – this is an economic issue. In the nature of bipartisanship, let’s work together to put the needs of middle-class families over the whims of the most profitable industry in the world.”
Full text of the letter is below:
Every one of us is hearing from families back home who are struggling with rising gas prices. At the same time, we’re reading this week about the record-breaking profits that the major oil companies are raking in– more than $30 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2011 alone. Something just doesn’t add up. Now that the five biggest oil companies have become some of the most profitable companies in the world, taxpayers shouldering $4 a gallon gas prices should not have to foot the bill for tens of billions of outdated, unnecessary subsidies that go straight into the pockets of oil industry executives particularly in light of our increasing deficit. Just as we ask families to do their part to help reduce the deficit, Big oil companies need to step up to the plate and share in the sacrifice.
Every year, taxpayers are giving away more than $4 billion to oil companies in the form of tax deductions, subsidies and royalty relief. It has always been questionable whether or not these subsidies for oil companies do anything to encourage new production, and it is especially questionable at a time when oil companies are reporting record profits. The fact is, oil companies will continue to drill and produce oil with or without these subsidies. Testifying before the Senate in 2005, every CEO of the five biggest oil companies acknowledged that they do not need incentives to explore for oil and gas. And just this year, the former CEO of Shell Oil said “subsidies are not necessary.”
Last week, we were encouraged to hear some of our Republican colleagues, including Speaker Boehner, say that big oil companies “ought to be paying their fair share.” We could not agree more. Closing these loopholes will not raise gas prices for American consumers. Historically, gas prices have risen even as the major oil companies reap billions in tax subsidies that have outlived their usefulness, and there is scant evidence that ending these subsidies will have any effect on how oil and gas are priced in the global market.
In the Senate, we will act imminently to close these loopholes. Given the unprecedented number of lawmakers who have stepped forward in support of this idea for the first time, we believe this new push to end oil subsidies has a strong chance to succeed where previous efforts have failed. We invite ideas from both sides of the aisle about how best to bring these wasteful giveaways to an end. We intend to proceed with a bill that maximizes our chances of garnering bipartisan appeal.
By working together to end these wasteful giveaways to oil companies, we will not only make the tax code more fair, but we will decrease the federal deficit by tens of billions of dollars over the next ten years.
To a family struggling to pay rising gas prices, this is not a partisan or political issue – this is an economic issue. In the nature of bipartisanship, let’s work together to put the needs of middle-class families over the whims of the most profitable industry in the world.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senator Robert Menendez
May 4, 2011
Reid: Republicans Pay Lip Service To Jobs While Blocking Jobs Bill For Nearly Two Months
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement after Republicans blocked the Small Businesses jobs bill:
“At every turn, Republicans have blocked us from creating jobs. For nearly two months, they have held up our efforts to help small businesses innovate, grow and put Americans back to work. Now they have blocked this bill altogether, despite our efforts to accommodate their concerns and just a day after paying lip service to the need to create jobs. Republican rhetoric is one thing, but their actions speak louder than words.”
May 3, 2011
Reid: Our Military And Intelligence Professionals Met The Worst Of Humanity With The Best Of America
Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the resolution honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Those watching around the world may not be able to see on their screens the scene here in the United States Senate.
“We have all come to the floor in a way we rarely do. We have come here this afternoon to express with one voice our endless respect and admiration for the men and women of our military and intelligence organizations.
“‘Resolution’ is an appropriate name for this legislation. It honors the resolution to a problem that has lingered for nearly a decade – one whose weight has grown heavier each day on the shoulders of the families Osama bin Laden traumatized and the many more he terrorized. It honors the resolve with which our bravest stared down danger.
“The world is still absorbing America’s astounding accomplishment – a mission to bring bin Laden to justice, one that began more than nine-and-a-half years ago, and was accomplished just a little more than a day and a half ago. Nine-and-a-half years after the worst morning in our memory, we woke up yesterday morning to a world without Osama bin Laden, and with a palpable sense of justice.
“Our military and intelligence operatives are the best in the world at what they do. As they set out to kill or capture our most valuable target, they captivated us with their skill and expertise, their patriotism and their professionalism.
“A flood of thoughts and emotions and analyses has been shared over the past 36 hours. As I said from this desk yesterday, the end of his life is not the end of this fight. It is a victory, but not the victory. A lot has already been said about what bin Laden’s death means.
“So before we vote on this resolution, I want to speak only briefly about the American men and women who carried out this critical, successful mission – a mission that was historically significant and tactically stunning.
“Osama bin Laden was the most wanted and most hunted man in the world. His was the face of our enemy and the face of evil. There were few faces more recognizable to the American people and to citizens of the world.
“Those who carried out the Commander-in-Chief’s orders this weekend could not be more different. The world doesn’t know their names. We wouldn’t recognize them if we passed them on the street. And that is exactly how they would want it.
“This is the newest proud page in the long story of the American hero – the unknown soldiers, the unsung saviors who sacrifice for our country’s flag and their countrymen’s freedom. They don’t ask for recognition and they don’t ask questions. They just answer their nation when it calls.
“Today the Senate stands in awe of the countless men and women who have toiled in obscurity, in the field and in every corner of the world. Professionals who gather one small shred of evidence here, unearth one clue there, pursue another lead somewhere else.
“The men and women who, over the course of 10 long years, pieced together this most meaningful of puzzles so that a few dozen of their fellow heroes could execute an operation the world will never forget.
“These heroes confronted fear with brilliance and bravery. They met the worst of humanity with the best of America. The terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks did so with cowardice. The Americans who carried out this mission did so with unfailing courage.
“No one has asked how these men and women vote or what their politics are. And so we have come here to the floor to vote together on this resolution not as two parties – not even as 100 Senators – but as one body, representing one grateful country.”
TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION:
Honoring the members of the military and intelligence community who carried out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, and for other purposes.
Whereas, on May 1, 2011, United States personnel killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden during the course of a targeted strike against his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan;
Whereas Osama bin Laden was the leader of the al Qaeda terrorist organization, the most significant terrorism threat to the United States and the international community;
Whereas Osama bin Laden was the architect of terrorist attacks which killed nearly 3,000 civilians on September 11, 2001, the most deadly terrorist attack against our Nation, in which al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center in
New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and, due to heroic efforts by civilian passengers to disrupt the terrorists, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania;
Whereas Osama bin Laden planned or supported numerous other deadly terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies, including the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, and against innocent civilians in countries around the world, including the 2004 attack on commuter trains in Madrid, Spain and the 2005 bombings of the mass transit system in London, England;
Whereas, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States, under President George W. Bush, led an international coalition into Afghanistan to dismantle al Qaeda, deny them a safe haven in Afghanistan and ungoverned areas along the Pakistani border, and bring
Osama bin Laden to justice;
Whereas President Barack Obama in 2009 committed additional forces and resources to efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan as ‘‘the central front in our enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism’’;
Whereas the valiant members of the United States Armed Forces have courageously and vigorously pursued al Qaeda and its affiliates in Afghanistan and around the world;
Whereas the anonymous, unsung heroes of the intelligence community have pursued al Qaeda and affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the world with tremendous dedication, sacrifice, and professionalism;
Whereas the close collaboration between the Armed Forces and the intelligence community prompted the Director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, to state, ‘‘Never have I seen a more remarkable example of focused integration, seamless collaboration, and sheer professional magnificence as was demonstrated by the Intelligence Community in the ultimate demise of Osama bin Laden.’’;
Whereas, while the death of Osama bin Laden represents a significant blow to the al Qaeda organization and its affiliates and to terrorist organizations around the world, terrorism remains a critical threat to United States national security; and
Whereas President Obama said, ‘‘For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our Nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.’’: Now, therefore, be it resolved, That the Senate—
(1) declares that the death of Osama bin Laden represents a measure of justice and relief for the families and friends of the nearly 3,000 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, the men and women in the United States and around the world who have been killed by other al Qaeda-sponsored attacks, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the intelligence community who have sacrificed their lives pursuing Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda;
(2) commends the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the United States intelligence community for the tremendous commitment, perseverance, professionalism, and sacrifice they displayed in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice;
(3) commends the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and the United States intelligence community for committing themselves to defeating, disrupting, and dismantling al Qaeda;
(4) commends the President for ordering the successful operations to locate and eliminate Osama bin Laden; and
(5) reaffirms its commitment to disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al Qaeda and affiliated organizations around the world that threaten United States national security, eliminating a safe haven for terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and bringing terrorists to justice.
May 3, 2011
Reid Remarks On Small Business Innovation Bill
Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The bill before us on the Senate floor is the latest in a series of bills we’ve written to help small businesses grow.
“It supports a research and development program – the Small Business Innovation Research program – that has helped tens of thousands of small businesses create jobs and shape the future since President Reagan created it nearly 30 years ago.
“These investments work. They have helped get great new ideas off the ground – everything from the electric toothbrush, to satellite antennae that helped first responders in Haiti, to technologies that keep our food safe and our military’s tanks from overheating in the desert. There are success stories in every state and nearly every industry.
“Before the recess we spent days working on an agreement to have votes on three amendments to this bill, so we could move forward and finally pass it.
“Included in this agreement were Senator Cornyn’s amendment, which would establish a commission on government waste, and Senator Hutchison’s amendment, which is related to healthcare reform litigation. Unfortunately, Senator Snowe objected to this agreement.
“During the course of many weeks debating this bill, we have made significant efforts to accommodate Senator Snowe and the rest of the Republican caucus on amendments. We even had a vote on another amendment offered by Senator Snowe, as well as many other Republican amendments – nearly all of which had nothing to do with the underlying bill.
“In light of our accommodation of extraneous amendments, it’s difficult for me to understand why we cannot finish debate on this bill. We have been more than fair. We should be able to reach agreement on considering some remaining amendments and voting on final passage of the bill.
“But it appears we are unable to do that. I had no choice but to file cloture in order to bring this debate to a close – and that’s what I did last night.
“This has been on the floor for far too long, and we need to resolve it so we can move on to other matters.”
May 3, 2011
Reid Remarks At Dedication Of Statue Of President Gerald Ford
Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today at the dedication of the statue of late President Gerald Ford in the Capitol Rotunda. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Anyone who lives as long and accomplishes as much as Gerald Ford did is likely to collect a long list of titles. But the adjectives that best describe him are far more meaningful than the offices he held.
“He was compassionate, forthright and reliable. He was true to his word. He was a patriot who answered every call to serve.
“He was honest. He was unafraid to believe that truth is the glue that holds our society together.
“He was unpretentious. He took the oath of office as Vice President in the House chamber just down the hall from here. When he then addressed the nation for the first time in that role and in that room, the man from Michigan started with a humble warning: ‘I am a Ford,’ he said, ‘not a Lincoln.’ So he also was funny.
“He was fair. President Ford wisely asked Congress to remember our responsibility to communicate, cooperate and compromise. Indeed, he once likened compromise to the oil that makes the engine of government run. His metaphor is just as true today.
“In fact, it was oil – in a literal sense – that brought Gerald Ford and me together for the first time.
“I was a young lieutenant governor during the oil crisis of the early 1970s. I came to Washington one day to represent my governor, Mike O’Callahan, and my state, and to meet with President Nixon’s energy czar. Then I went to the White House to meet Vice President Ford.
“I was excited. Here I was, not even 35 and meeting the Vice President in the White House. I felt a connection to Ford: like Governor O’Callahan was to me years earlier, Ford had been a boxing coach – and like me, he had opened his own small-town law practice.
“Before our meeting we shook hands and an official picture was taken. I was so proud of that picture. It was the first photo I had ever taken with a big shot.
“I flew home and didn’t see that picture again until after my children had gotten a hold of it. By the time I did, the picture of me and the Vice President of the United States lay beneath a thick, colorful coating of crayon drawings.
“Ford’s career was as colorful as that photo in my children’s hands. He was a Congressman for a quarter of century, his party’s leader in the House of Representatives for almost a decade, a member of the Warren Commission, and of course the Vice President and President of the United States. But there was a distinct sense that more than any of these titles, Gerald Ford was most proud that he was simply a citizen of the United States.
“And he was more than just an American. He was an all-American: an Eagle Scout, a decorated lieutenant commander in our Navy, the captain of the football team and a national champion at the University of Michigan.
“In fact, he was such a proud Wolverine that when he entered official events – and when he left this rotunda for the last time – he did so not to ‘Hail to the Chief,’ but to the Michigan fight song that exclaims, ‘Hail to the victors valiant!’
“President Ford wasn’t impressed with labels or livelihood or longevity. The value he valued most had nothing to do with what a person accomplished for himself, and everything to do with how he treated others.
“Six weeks before he passed away, he became our nation’s longest-living President. In his last public statement, he told the nation that ‘the length of one’s days matters less than the love of one’s family and friends.’ President Ford knew what he was talking about.
“He enjoyed tremendous love from those who knew and admired him. He was easy to love. He believed people are fundamentally good, and he saw the best in his neighbors and his country.
“Brett Grill, a sculptor from President Ford’s hometown of Grand Rapids, did an impressive job capturing Ford’s likeness in the statue we will unveil in a few minutes. He did such an expert job that I’m confident I’ll be able to recognize President Ford – even without crayon scribbles across his face.”
May 2, 2011
Reid: America Brought bin Laden To Justice, But We Must Remember The End Of His Life Is Not The End Of This Fight
Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following statement on the Senate floor regarding the U.S. mission that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Late last night we learned the news we’d been longing to hear since the worst morning in our memory: an American operation brought Osama bin Laden to justice.
“This was an American mission – ordered by President Obama and accomplished by America’s brave and brilliant military and intelligence professionals.
“Last night’s news stunned the world – but this operation’s success should surprise no one. America’s special forces and intelligence operatives are the best – the best trained, the best equipped, the best led. Every day of every year, they risk their lives for our sake, for our safety.
“They are the most professional and proficient forces on the planet, and yesterday they brought down the most wanted mass murderer on Earth.
“Their success is the most significant victory yet in our fight against Al Qaeda and terrorism. It sends a strong and unmistakable message to terrorists who threaten our country, our people and our interests.
“This success is a direct result of President Obama’s leadership, from the national-security priorities he outlined when he took office to the green light he gave our forces this weekend.
“President Obama insisted that we refocus on Afghanistan and Pakistan as the central battlefields in our fight against terrorism. Those tremendous military, diplomatic, intelligence and economic efforts are the reason we woke up this morning in a world that is no longer home to Osama bin Laden.
“But the end of his life is not the end of this fight. Yesterday’s operation is indeed a measure of justice. But it is only one measure of justice. It absolutely is a definitive victory, but it does not define absolute victory.
“America welcomes the success of our fellow citizens’ extraordinary mission. Even as we breathe a sigh of relief, though, we are not relieved of our duty to be vigilant, to be persistent, to defeat our enemy and to make our nation stronger.
“The leader of Al Qaeda is gone, but his organization is not. We know our enemy is widespread and motivated – and the truth is, it may be more motivated today than it was yesterday.
“Our troops continue to fight. Our intelligence professionals continue to work. Their families continue to sacrifice. We continue to support all of them, and each other.
“We also pause today to once again lend a shoulder to those whose grief never ends – not with time, not with bin Laden’s demise, not ever.
“This significant measure of justice is but a small measure of comfort to those who lost loved ones at bin Laden’s direction – in America and around the world, in New York and Virginia and Pennsylvania, aboard the U.S.S. Cole, at American embassies in Africa, on trains in London and Madrid, and in so many other places.
“Bin Laden’s death does not bring back the thousands of innocent people his thugs killed, or make whole families that will forever be incomplete.
“But it is an important milestone that reminds the world America does not suffer the wicked and will not submit to evil. Our resolve is strengthened when it is challenged, and our unity – though it, too, is often tested – is unbreakable.
“Because of the hard work of courageous Americans in our military, intelligence, diplomatic and law-enforcement communities, a long and painful chapter in our nation’s history closed yesterday. Today we welcome a spring of new optimism and renewed patriotism.
“The chapter now behind us ended with justice. We hope the chapter ahead of us will bring security and peace.
“While the nation and the world absorb this crucial development, the work of the Senate continues.
“Today we begin a new month and a new work period and a new opportunity to come together to create jobs.
“I hope this month will be a productive one. There are several important and time-sensitive items on our plate.
“One, I hope to wrap up the small-business jobs bill. This has been on the floor for far too long, and we need to resolve it so we can move on to other matters.
“Two, we will have the same debate in the Senate that the American people are having at home. That is the question of whether we should keep giving away money to oil companies who clearly don’t need taxpayer handouts. That will be part of a larger debate we will continue having about how best to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and invest better and smarter in clean energy.
“Three, we will vote on the House-passed budget. A majority of the House has embraced it, a majority of the American people has rejected it, and the Senate will soon have its say, too.
“Finally, we will confirm judicial nominees, many of whom have waited too long for the Senate to act. If the minority forces us to file cloture on these nominees in order to get to a final vote, I will file cloture. We cannot waste any more time or play these games any longer. The country needs these empty benches filled.
“We also have other nominations to confirm, including the Attorney General’s top deputy, Jim Cole.
“The Deputy Attorney General runs the day-to-day operations of the Department of Justice. He also is the person who signs the critical warrants that permit our intelligence officials to conduct surveillance on suspected terrorists. But he can’t do that unless the Senate confirms him – so we must do that soon.
Especially given last night’s developments, it is unthinkable that partisanship and legislative ploys are keeping a well-qualified nominee out of this important national-security role.
“A moment ago we began this remarkable new day in the Senate the same way we begin every day in session: with the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. Its closing words were the powerful closing words of President Obama’s address to the nation last night, and their meaning is even more profound today, the first day of this new era.
“Those words – ‘liberty and justice for all’ – represent America’s purpose. This weekend, in the name and pursuit of liberty, heroic Americans halfway around the world secured justice – for an evil man’s victims, for the survivors of his terror, for Americans, for our allies and for the entire world. Liberty and justice, for all.”
May 2, 2011
Reid Statement On U.S. Operation That Killed Osama bin Laden
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement regarding the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden:
“Osama bin Laden is dead, killed in a targeted U.S. operation authorized by President Obama.
“This is the most significant victory in our fight against al Qaeda and terrorism, but that fight is not over. We will continue to support our troops and the American civilians who are fighting every day to protect our homeland.
“Nine-and-a-half years ago, Osama bin Laden masterminded the horrific attacks against the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people. As we remember those who were killed on that dark day in September and their families, we also reaffirm our resolve to defeat the terrorist forces that killed them and thousands of others across the globe. Because of courageous Americans in our military and intelligence community, their leader is now gone.”