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Public Statements

Expressing the Gratitude of the House of Representatives to its Parliamentarian, the Honorable Charles W. Johnson

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


EXPRESSING THE GRATITUDE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO ITS PARLIAMENTARIAN, THE HONORABLE CHARLES W. JOHNSON. -- (House of Representatives - May 20, 2004)

Mr. HASTERT. Mr. Speaker, I offer a resolution (H. Res. 651) expressing the gratitude of the House of Representatives to its Parliamentarian, the Honorable Charles W. Johnson, and ask unanimous consent for its immediate consideration.

-BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT-

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 ½ minutes to the gentleman from Savannah, Georgia (Mr. Kingston), the very distinguished vice chairman of the Republican Conference.

Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few remarks about our great friend and departing parliamentarian. If Members think about the world we live in today and all the technology and all the feats of engineering, we take so much for granted. We get in our cars, and our cars are almost a mechanical and a computer platform now, and we never marvel, we never question. We just flip a switch, and we expect something to happen. We take it all for granted.

That is somewhat how we are as we come down to the floor of the House. As 435 independent contractors, we come down here and we expect bills to be on the table, we expect to have a learned staff who can ask why a certain amendment was germane and why it was allowed and why it was not allowed. We expect to have some professionals who can keep their eyes on our distinguished brethren and sisters on the Committee on Rules, for example.

We need a neutral body as our motions flow that can say this is how the procedure must go on. And I think the House should be very proud of what Charlie and his entire team have done and all of the staff members that make this body click. Lord knows what would happen if we did not have this. We might look like the U.S. Senate.

I do not know if my words will be taken down, Charlie. I know there is a whole list of things I am not supposed to say. For example, I cannot turn to my friend, DAVID OBEY or JOHN LEWIS and say, JOHN. I have to say my distinguished friend from. Right now, this is like fingernails going against a blackboard. He keeps Members like me who can be somewhat flippant, who might say the wrong thing, who may deserve to have words taken down. He is the guy who says I may agree with what he just said about the fellow Member of the House, I might agree with his politics, I might disagree, but I am going to stick with the rule books. We need to have somebody like that. And he keeps people like the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. LaHood) watching that clock.

There was a great TV commercial of Motel 6 years ago. Tom Bodett made famous the line, "I am going to keep the light on for you." I always liked that because my mom would keep the light on for us when we were teenagers going home because the light represented security, the light represented home and wisdom and fairness. Charlie has kept the light on for all of us for many, many years, a source of wisdom, a source of fairness, a bright spot no matter what the legislative agenda of the day was; and we thank Charlie for all of his hard work.

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