Mr. KOHL. Madam President, I rise today to pay tribute to my colleague, Senator GORDON H. SMITH of Oregon. We have served together on the Special Committee on Aging for since he came to the Senate in 1996. And for the past 4 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of leading the committee alongside him.
Our committee has a proud history of bipartisanship. Both the chair and the ranking member have the power to hold hearings, lead investigations, and conduct oversight for the good of older Americans. In every effort, the majority and minority staff involve each other, offering insights and inviting witnesses. The work we have done as leaders of the committee very much reflects the partnership we forged. And I am pleased to have had the opportunity to share many successes with Senator Smith, the most recent of which--a 2-year extension of Supplemental Security Income, SSI, benefits for refugees and other humanitarian immigrants--was signed into law by President Bush this fall.
As the end of our era comes to a close, I wish to applaud Senator Smith for his commendable leadership of the committee, and thank him for the comity he ensured as we worked together to support older workers, improve rural health care and Medicare accountability, and strengthen elder justice. I will be honored to push forth on these issues, which represent just a few of the many priorities we shared, though I will certainly regret the absence of my collaborator, Senator Smith.
I wish Senator Smith nothing but success and happiness as he leaves this institution. I, along with millions of older Americans, owe him a debt of gratitude for the work he has done here.