tv Gingrich Swearing In CSPAN January 3, 2015 11:38pm-12:26am EST
great challenges that face this nation. of course, there will be disagreements. there always is in our two-party system. we all have a common love of this country and a respect for democracy. the founding fathers referred to the house during their deliberations as the first branch. they did so because it gave the people a direct share in the government by beginning anew every two years. and so it is today we begin anew. i hope that our actions will prove the correctness of thomas jefferson's observation that the government is founded not on the fears and follies of man but in his dreams and in his reason. finally, i hope most of all that what we do here in this house over the next two years will result in increasing the respect and appreciation of our constituents for this congress and our role in government. i want to thank my democratic
colleagues. they put my name five times in nomination. to them, i owe a deep debt of thanks. from the bottom of a deeply grateful heart, i say thank you to my democratic colleagues for the honor they have given me. may i thank the members of the house for the respect they have always treated this role of the speakership of the house. in conclusion, may i say with god's aid and god's might, may we pray to him that he will give to us the reason, the judgment the knowledge, the talent that he has given to this body all through the years that has been part and parcel of making our nation the greatest nation in the world. thank you all. [applause] thank you.
i am now ready to take the oath of office. as is the custom, i am delighted to see that the dean of the houses in the well and is ready -- the dean of the house is in the well and is ready to administer the oath. >> mr. speaker, will you raise your right hand? do you solemnly swear you will support and defend the constitution of united states against all enemies foreign and domestic, that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that you take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that he will -- and that you will faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god? >> i do. thank you. [applause]
i appreciate that true custom, -- through custom, the minority leader, the republican leader does introduce business -- how are you, darling? [laughter] that's an o'neill for you. i want to make this presentation to bob. this is the gavel with which you open the session. we want it for your mementos. we always hope that you will be in the exact same position you are in today. [applause]
that was not planned. [laughter] >> in a few minutes we will hear from republican house speaker newt gingrich, speaking on the opening day of the 104th congress. at what happened in the 1994 election? >> the 1994 election was a revolution in many ways, because it brought republicans to our in -- to power in the house for the first time in almost 40 years. 20 elections, 20 congresses with democrats in control. it came, even though the republicans were working hard to gain the majority, i think it came as a surprise to many. including newt gingrich. also, about six months before the campaign was going on, newt gingrich and other members of what was called the conservative
opportunity society issued a document called the contract with america. it labeled 10 items that the republicans promised to pass on the first day they were in power. gingrich also talked about the possibility of 100 day activities using the 100 day activities of franklin roosevelt. in other words to change america. this would be tremendous legislative activity. all of that was planned. it wasn't sure who is going to win. but it was quite a remarkable turnabout in the house. democrats lost quite a few seats, and republicans for the first time ended up with a majority, 228 seats, and
democrats had 206. so, suddenly everything changed on the hill. newt gingrich was the man of the hour. "time" magazine chose him as man of the year in 1995. he launched his speakership, and he was, as you will see, the remarks he will make, he was very much active on all fronts and ready to go. he was ready to completely revolutionize the house. he had martialed power largely by talking about the corruption of the democratic party. which had been in power too about the downfall of speaker jim right wright
on ethics charges. he ended up resigning his speakership in 1989. newt wrote a book called "the house of ill repute" about various scandals. and there were quite a few scandals in the house at that time. all of those came to his advantage as he launched the revolution. he quickly consolidated his power. he launched his revolution. it was successful in some ways very much so, he worked with president clinton to achieve balanced budgets, which was the desire of both parties for years and years. they had never been able to achieve. he instituted welfare reform also with president clinton, working together with him. these were major changes. along the way, some of his reforms alienated and off a lot of people, including the majority party. all of a sudden there were a lot of republicans who were committee chairman for the first time and they were looking forward to this new power, and he had his problems.
newt had his problems, and within two terms, he resigned the speakership with some ethics charges against him and his attempt to impeach bill clinton backfired on him. but the revolution he brought forth in 94 is still a landmark piece of congressional history because it was a complete change of the order of the power. >> thank you, ray smock. now here is newt gingrich on the opening day of the 104th congress. [gavels pounds] >> the house will be in order. mr. doorkeeper. >> mr. speaker elect, newt
not a moment i had been waiting for. [laughter] when you carry the mantle of progress, there is precious little glory in defeat, but sometimes we spend so much time lionizing the winners and labeling the losers, we looked se sight of -- lose sight of the victory we all share in this crown jewel of democracy. you see, mr. speaker, this is a day to celebrate a power that belongs not to any political party, but to the people. no matter the margin, no matter the majority. all across the world, from bosnia to chechnya to south africa, people lay down their lives for the kind of voice we take for granted. too often the transfer of power
is an act of pain and carnage, not one, as we see today, of peace and decency. that here in the house of representatives, for 219 years longer than any democracy in the world, we heed the people's voice with peace and stability -- civility and respect. each and every day, on this very floor, we at go the hopes and -- we echo the hopes and dreams of our people. their fears and their failures their abiding belief in a better america. we may not all agree with today's changing of the guard. we may not all like it. but we cannot the people's will -- but we enact the people's will with dignity and honor and pride. and in that endeavor, mr. speaker, there can be no losers, and there can be no defeat.
of course, in the 104th congress, there will be conflict and compromise, and agreements will not always be easy. agreement sometimes not even possible. but while we may not agree on matters of party and principle we all abide with the will of the people. that is reason enough to place our good faith and our best hopes in your able hands. i speak from the bottom of my heart when i say i wish you the best in these coming two years for when this gavel passes into your hands, so do the futures and fortunes of millions of americans to make real progress, to improve real people's lives. we both have to rise above partisanship. we have to work together, where we can and where we must.
it is a profound responsibility, one which knows no bounds of party or politics. it is a responsibility not nearly for those who voted for you, not merely who cast their fate on your side of the aisle but also for those who did not. these are the responsibilities i pass along with the gavel i hold, will hold in my hand. there are some burdens the democratic party will never cease to bear. as democrats, we came to congress to fight for america's hard-working middle income families. families who are working longer hours for less pay for fewer benefits and jobs they are not sure they can keep. we together must redeem their
faith that if they work hard and they play by the rules, they can build a better life for their children. mr. speaker, i want this entire house to speak for those families. the democratic party will. that mantle we will never lay to rest. so with partnership -- [applause] so with partnership, but with purpose, i pass this great gavel of our government. with resignation, but with resolve, i hereby end 40 years of democratic rule of this house. [applause] with faith and with friendship
with faith and with friendship and the deepest respect, you are now my speaker. and let the great debate now begin. i have the high honor and distinct privilege to present to the house of representatives our new speaker, the gentleman from georgia, newt gingrich. [applause] >> very well said. [indiscernible]
>> let me say first of all that i am very deeply grateful to my friend dick gephardt. i cannot help but think that my side overreacted to your statement, ending 40 years of democratic rule. i could not help but think of bob michael who has often been up here and knows, this is difficult and painful to lose and on my side of the aisle, we
have over 20 elections been on the losing side. and yet there is something so wonderful about the process by which a free people decide, that in my own case i lost two elections and with the good help of my friend came close to losing two others -- [laughter] i'm sorry that did not quite work out. [laughter] i can tell you every time when the polls close, i thought good, because when or lose --win or lose, we are part of the process. in a few minutes i am going to ask the dean of the house to swear me in, to insist on the bipartisan nature we work together in the house.
john's father was one of the great stalwarts of the new deal, a man who as a new deal democrat was an architect of this america. that is a tradition we have to recognize and respect and recognize the america that we are going to lead grew from that tradition and is part of that great heritage. i also want just four moment to thank speaker foley, who was extraordinarily generous in his public honor and and everything that he and his staff did to help make the transition. i think he worked very hard to reestablish the dignity of the house. we can all be proud of the reputation he takes and the spirit with which he led the speakership. and our best wishes go to speaker and mrs. foley. [applause]
i also want to thank the various house officers who have been just extraordinary. i want to say for the public record that faced with a result none of them wanted, a situation that i suspect none of them expected, within 48 hours, every office in this house reacted as a patriot. worked overtime, bent over backwards, and in every way helped us and i am very grateful. this house owes a debt of gratitude to every officer elected two years ago. [applause] >> this is a historic moment. i was asked over and over how i feel and the only word that comes close to adequate is overwhelming. i feel overwhelmed in every way.
i feel overwhelmed by my extended family. overwhelmed by the moment. i stood on the balcony this morning and i was just overwhelmed by the view. two men i will introduce and know very well -- just the sense of being part of america, being part of this great tradition. i have two gavels, actually. dick happened to use one. this is a georgia gavel that i got this morning. he decided that the gavels that you saw on tv were not or strong enough, so he made a gavel and set it up. this is a genuine georgia gavel. i am the first georgia speaker in over 100 years. the last, by the way, had a weird accent, too. he was born in britain. his parents were actors and they came to the u.s. and secondly, this is a gavel that speaker martin used.
i am not sure what it says about the inflation of government if you put them side by side. this is the gavel used by the last republican speaker. i want to comment for a minute on two men who served as my leaders and from whom i learned so much. when i arrived as a freshman and the republican party, deeply dispirited by watergate and the loss of the presidency, banded together and worked with a leader who helped pave the way for our great party the tree of -- party victory of 1980, and the man who just did a marvelous job and i can't speak more to what i have learned from serving with him in my freshman term and he is with us today. please recognize congressman john rhodes of arizona. [applause] let me say also that at our
request -- he was not sure if he should be here at all and he was going to hide in the back. i think virtually every democrat in the house will say was a man who genuinely cares about the house and represents the best spirit of the house, a man who i hope i can always rely on for advice, and i hope frankly i can emulate and his commitment to this institution and his willingness to reach beyond his personal interest and his personal partisanship. why don't you join me in thanking him for his years of service -- congressman bob michael. [applause]
i'm very fortunate today. i have my mom and my dad are here. they are right up here. and i am so delighted that they are both able to be here. you know, sometimes when you get to my age, you cannot have everyone near you you would love to. i can't say how much i have learned from my dad and his years serving the u.s. army and have learned from my mother, who is clearly my most enthusiastic cheerleader. my daughters are here. kathy and her husband paul and jackie and her husband. and my closest friend and best advisor -- if i listened to her 20% more, i would get and less trouble.
my wife marianne. [applause] i have a very large extended family and their virtually all in town and we have done our part for the tourism season. when i first came on the floor earlier, i went around and saw a number of the young people here, children on the floor, the young adults who are close to 12 years of age. [applause] -- [laughter] i could not help but think sitting in the back of the room, close to the center of the house, one of my nephews, kevin who is five and susan who is six and emily who is eight and lauren, who is nine.
i think that is probably more than i'm allowed to bring. they are my nieces and nephews. i could not help but think, the way that i wanted to start the speakership was a talk with every member. these young people that you see around you are what this is all about. much more than the negative advertising in the interest groups and all of the different things that make politics all too often cynical and nasty and sometimes frankly just plain miserable. what makes politics worthwhile is the choice, as dick gephardt said, between what you see on the evening news and the way we try to do it, is to make this system, a free, representative self-government work. and the ultimate reason for doing that is these children and the country they will inherit and the world they will live in. we are starting the 104th congress. we have had this for 208 years.
we gathered together, the most diverse country in the history of the world. we send all sources of people. each of us can find at least one member you thought was weird. and if we went around the room the choice would be different from virtually every one of us. because we do allow and insist upon the right of a free people to send an extraordinary diversity of people here. brian lamb of c-span read to me on friday a book. i've been reading a biography of henry clay. he always preferred the house over the senate, although he served them both. he says the house is more vital, more dynamic, more common. "often there is not a distinguished man in the whole number. its members are all up secure -- obscure individuals whose
names bring no associations to mind. they are mostly village lawyers, men in trade, or even persons belonging to the lower classes of society." now if you put women in with men, i do not know that we have changed much. but that word had a very particular meaning and it is a meaning that we would do well to study. did tocqueville lived in a world of kings and princes, and the people who come here, come here by the one single act that their citizens freely chose them. and i don't care what your ethnic crowd, what your ideology, i don't care whether you are younger or older, i do not care if you were born in
america or are a naturalized citizen. everyone has an equal standing because their citizens freely sent them and therefore should be heard and they should have a right to participate and it is the most marvelous act of a complex giant country trying to argue, to have a great debate to reach great decisions, not through a civil war, not through bombing one of our regional capitals, not by killing a half-million people, not by having snipers -- and let me say unequivocally, i condemn all acts of violence against the law by all people for all reasons. this is a society of law and the society of civil behavior. [applause] and so, here we are as commoners together, to some extent democrats and republicans, to some extent liberals and conservatives, but americans all.
i have a copy of the portable abraham lincoln and suggested there is much for me to learn about our party, but i would suggest it does not hurt to have a copy of the portable fdr. this is a great country, a great people. if there is one factor or act of my life that strikes me as a stand appear, the first republican in 40 years to do so, when i first became whip, into my office came 8 russians and a lithuanian. members of the communist party's, legislators. they asked me, what does a whip do? they said in russia, we have never at a free parliament since 1917 and that was only 40 two months. what do you do? i tried to explain.
it is a little strange if you are from a dictatorship. you are called me with, you do not have a width. you are elected by the people. you're supposed to pressure them. if you pressure them too much, they will not reelect you. if you do not pressure them enough, they will not reelect you. democracy is hard. is frustrating. and so, we came into the chamber. the lithuanian was a man in his late 60's. i allowed him to come up here and be speaker. he came out of the chair. he was physically trembling, almost in tears. he said ever since world war ii, i remember what the americans did and i have never believed the propaganda. i have to tell you, i did not think in my life that i would be able to sit at the center of freedom. it was one of the most
compelling moments of my life. what struck me was something i could not help but think of when we were here with president mandela and i went over and saw ron in front of the great work he had done to extend freedom across the planet. that sense of emotion when you see something totally different from what you expected. while presidents are important they are an elected kingship. they are where freedom has to be fought out. that is the tradition i hope we will take with us as we go to work. today, we had a bipartisan prayer service. frank wolf made important points. he said we have to remember most of our most painful problems are moral problems, problems of dealing with ourselves and life. he said character is the key to leadership. he was preaching about the spirit of reconciliation. he talked about caring about our spouses, children, and families.
if we are not prepared to model that, if we are not prepared to care about our children and families, by what arrogance do we think we will transcend our behavior to care about others? that is why with congressman gephardt's help, we established a bipartisan task force on the family. we established the principle we will set schedules we stick to so families can count on times to be together so families can get to know each other and not just on c-span. i will also say -- [applause] one of the strongest recommendations of the bipartisan committee is we have 17 minutes to vote.
they pointed out that if you take the time we spent in the last congress where we have one more and one more and a 45-minute vote, you literally can shorten the business and get people home if we will be strict and firm. i say that with all of my colleagues hopefully paying attention because we will work hard that 17 minutes and it is over. leave at the first bell, not the second bell. ok? [applause] this may seem particularly inappropriate to say on the first day because this will be the busiest day on opening day of congressional history. i want to read part of the contract with america. not as a partisan act but to remind all of us will be go through and why. those of us who ended up in the majority stood on the steps and signed a contract. here is part of what it says. on the first day of the 104th congress, the new republican
majority will immediately pass the following major reforms aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the american people and their government. require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to congress. second, select a major independent auditing firm for waste fraud or abuse. third, cut the number of house committees and cut committee staff by a third. fourth, limit the terms of all committee chairs. fifth, ban the casting of proxy votes in committees. six, require committee meetings to be open to the public. seventh, require a three fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase. guarantee an honest accounting of our budget. i told dick last night if i had to do it over again, we will pledge within three days we would do those things. we did not do that so we've got ourselves in a little bit of a box. i carry the tv guide version of the contract with me at all times. we then said thereafter within
the first 100 days we shall bring to the house floor the following bills to be given full and open debate, a clear and fair vote, to be immediately available for inspection. we made it available that day. we listed ten items. a balanced budget amendment and line item veto, stop violent criminals, emphasizing an effective and enforceable death penalty. third was welfare reform. fourth protecting our kids. fifth tax cuts for families. six was a stronger national defense. seventh was raising the senior citizens earning limit. eighth, rolling back government regulations. ninth was common-sense legal reform. and tenth was congressional term limits. i think we have this absolute obligation first to work today toward this until we are done.
i know this will inconvenience families and supporters. but we were hired to do a job and we have to start today to prove we will do it. second, i would say to our friends in the democratic party that we are going to work with you. we are laying out a schedule to make sure we can set dates certain to go home. that does mean two or three weeks out if we are running short, we will have longer sessions on tuesday, wednesday and thursday. we will try to work this out in a bipartisan basis to in a workman like way to get it done. it is going to mean the busiest early months since 1933. beyond the contract, i think there are two giant challenges. i know i'm a very partisan figure, but i really hope today that i can speak for a minute to my friends in the democratic party as well as my own colleagues and the country about these challenges, and i hope we can have a dialogue. one is to achieve a balanced budget by 2002. [applause]
i think both democratic and republican governors will tell you it is doable, but it is hard. i don't think it's doable in a year or two. i don't think we ought to lie to the american people. this is a huge complicated job. second, i think we have to find a way to truly replace the current welfare state with an opportunity society. let me talk very briefly about both. first on the balanced budget. i think we can get it done. i think the baby boomers are now old enough that we can have an honest dialogue about priorities, about resources, about what works, about what doesn't. let me say i've already told vice president gore we are going to invite him. we're going to invite him to address the republican conference. i believe there are grounds for us to talk together and work together to have hearings together to have task forces together.
i think if we set priorities, if we apply the principles of those, if we build on the vice president's reinventing government effort, if we focus on transforming not just cutting, not just “do you want more or less” -- but are there ways to do it better? can we learn from the private sector? can we learn from ford, ibm, and microsoft? i think on a bipartisan basis we owe it to our children and grandchildren to get this government in order hand to be able to actually pay our way. i think 2002 is a reasonable time frame and i would hope that together we can open a dialogue with the american people. and i have said i think social security ought to be off limits for at least four to six years because it will destroy us if we try to bring it into the game. but everything else, whether medicare or agricultural subsidies or defense or anything, that i think the greatest democratic president of
the 20th century and in my judgment the greatest president said it right on march 4, 1933 when he stood in the braces as a man who had polio at a time when nobody who had that kind of disability could be anything in public life, and he was president of the united states. and he stood in front of this capitol on a rainy march day and he said, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” i believe if everyone of us will reach out in that spirit and will pledge -- and i think frankly on a bipartisan basis, i would say to the members of the black and hispanic caucus i hope we can arrange to share districts where you will have a republican who frankly may not know a thing about your district agree to come for a long weekend with you and you will agree to go for a long weekend with them, and we begin a dialogue and openness that is totally different than people are used to seeing in politics in america. and i believe if we do that we can create a dialogue that can lead to a balanced budget. but i think we have a greater challenge. and i want to pick up on what dick gephardt said because he
said it right. and no republican here should kid themselves about it. the greatest leaders in fighting for an integrated america in the 20th century were in the democratic party. the fact is it was the liberal wing of the democratic party that ended segregation. the fact is it was franklin delano roosevelt who gave hope to a nation that was in despair and could have slid into dictatorship. and the fact is every republican has much to learn from studying what the democrats did right. but i would say to my friends in the democratic party that there is much to what ronald reagan was trying to get done. there is much to what is being done today by republicans like bill wells and john engler and tommy thompson and others. and there's much we can share with each other. we must replace the welfare
state with an opportunity society. the balanced budget is the right thing to do. but it doesn't in my mind have the moral urgency of coming to grips with what's happening to the poorest americans. i commend to all of you marvin olaski's the tragedy of american's compassion. he goes back 300 years and looks at what has worked in america, how we have helped people rise beyond poverty, how we have reached out to save people. he may not have the answers but he has the right sense of where we have to go as americans. i don't believe that there is a single american who can see a news report of a four-year-old thrown off a public housing project in chicago by other children and killed and not feel that a part of your heart went. i think of my nephew in the back, kevin. how would any of us feel about our children? how can any american read about an 11-year-old buried with his teddy bear because he killed a 14-year-old and another
14-year-old killed him and not have some sense of where has this country gone? how can we not decide this is a moral crisis equal to segregation? equal to slavery? how can we not insist every day we take steps to do something? [applause] i have seldom been more shaken than i was shortly after the election when i had breakfast with two members of the black caucus and one said to me can you imagine what it's like to visit a first grade class and realize that every fourth or fifth young boy in that class may be dead or in jail within 15 years? and they're your constituents
and you're helpless to change it. and that just for some reason i don't know why but maybe because i visit a lot of schools. that got through. that personalized it. that made it real. not just statistics but real people. and then i tried to explain part of my thoughts by talking about the need for alternatives to the bureaucracy, and we got into what i think has been a pretty distorted and cheap debate about orphanages. my father who is here today was a foster child who was adopted as a teenager. i am adopted. we have relatives who were adopted. we are not talking out of some vague impersonal dickens, bleak house, middle-class intellectual model. we have lived the alternatives. i believe when we are told children are so lost in the city bureaucracies that there are children in dumpsters, when we are told there are children doomed to go to school where 80%
of them will not graduate, when we are told of public housing projects that are so dangerous that if any private sector ran them they would be put in jail and we will study it. we will get around to it. my only point is we can find ways immediately to do things better and to reach out and break through the bureaucracy and give every young american child a better chance. [applause] let me suggest to you the new book trade i don't agree with all of it but it is fascinating. "working without a net." he draws a distinction worth
every american reading between caring and caretaking. he says caretaking is when you bother me a little bit so i do enough so i feel better because i think i took care of you. i may not have done any good to you at all. you may be an alcoholic and i just gave you the money to buy the bottle that kills you. but i feel better and go home. he said caring is actually stopping and dealing with the human being and trying to understand enough about them to generally make sure you improve their life, even if you have to start with a conversation like if you quit drinking, i will help you get a job. which is a lot better conversation than i feel better. i gave him five bucks.