tv Former House GOP Leader Bob Michel Remembered on Capitol Hill CSPAN March 9, 2017 3:02pm-4:04pm EST
you need and they say, we need flexibility and we want the opportunity to do the 1115 waivers and so forth, terrific. let's have the proposals come forward. some are extremely creative. let's give them the flexibility through that process that exist at cms to tryout some knew things. many of which not only provide, can provide better care, but can reduce cost off time. we are concerned about that you use the flexibility offer to camouflage coming in with these cuts -- you can find more on c-sp c-span.org. we go to the celebration of service of republican leader of
of the very proud city of peoria. as the long time minority leader, he was a modest man whose impact on the public wheel beyond his district far exceeded any projection of ego strength. a man of an age passed. he was a better practitioner of governorance than politics. it was this characteristic of his that ushered through a democratic house much of president ronald reagan's agenda, evidence of an extraordinary ability to legislate within our constitutional structures. be present with us this day, oh, god, as we mark his life and remember his legacy. bless this gathering and comfort us as we comfort one another in
remembering a great american in a genuinely good man. amen.
>> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, speaker of the house of the house of representatives, honorable paul ryan. >> good afternoon. and welcome to the united states capitol. today we celebrate the life of the honorable robert h.michel. the distinguished leader from the state of illinois. michel. the distinguished leader from the state of illinois. you know, on the day of his passing, it was my sad duty as speaker to order flags flown over the capitol to be flown at half staff. and at this moment i would like to ask the capitol police to present one of those flags from that day to the michel family, if you will please.
actually, i'd say this is the kind of inclusive program that the leader would enjoy. three republicans, two democrats, and ray lahood. [ applause ] [ applause ] >> yeah, that's right. but this being a house event, because this is a celebration of a great life. this being a house event, we're going to hear some really great stories. i want to start the bidding with two. one comes from karen haas. karen who we know very well right here in the house because she is the clerk of the house. but karen came us to as long time bob michel aide. karen tells the story of a time she wreefed the leader on a tax provision that bill archer was going on about. she was going into great detail.
she did that so they wouldn't have to go over the whole thing with bill afrper on the floor. they get to the floor, sure enough bill archer come up to the floor, starts going into the tax policy. the leader says, walk me through it from beginning to end. tell me all about it. karen starts figiting in her chair. he taps her lightly and the leader basically saying to her without saying a word, this is the job. a leader takes a moment. a leader listens. my predecessor, john boehner, he tells a story of his very, very early days, a freshman member. you heard of the gang of seven? yeah, right. john boehner was part of the gang of seven. they were with to drop something really big on the house bank. that's what made the gang of seven famous. john boehner is a freshman. goes to the leader and gives him a heads up about what they are about to do on the house bank. he is thinking, he is going to cut my legs off. this guy is never going to speak to me again.
he nod and says, well, you do what you have to do. as leader, i will do what i have to do. that was it. no breaking of arms. no retribution. just that. you know, years later when i was a rebelrouser causing john boehner similar problems, he showed the same decency to me. now i know who i have to thank. bob michel loved this place. many of us got to know him after -- we didn't serve together but we got to know him so well after that service. he loved this place and the institution but really loved his people. he did not just shape event. he shaped people's lives. how they lived and how they treated others. that's what makes a giant, a giant. it is the values that they instill in us. those moments that make you say, wow, i will never forget this. bob michel add lot of those kind
of moments in his good and long life. you wouldn't know it given how humble and how genual he was. today i hope he will permit us to speak out of order so that we can give this great patriot this man of the house the due he so richly deserves. thank you very much for being here today. [ applause ] >> assistant democratic leader, state senator, honorable dick derbin. >> bob michel were here looking out at this crowd, we might hear some of thinks favorite profanities. eek gad.
son of a buck. look who is here. my friend, family, republicans, democrats, die hard cub fans. and the rest of the world. we have beautiful weather inside, a band chorus inside and we meet in the right room. if you can't be on the floor of the house, this is a great room to honor bob michel. imagine how many times he walked across this room back and forth to his office to his beloved floor of the house of representatives. the best of all, we meet with the uncommonly descent spirit of bob michel among us fwen. the only thing bob loved better than the people's house as he called it, was his family. to bob and corinne's children, scott, robin, bruce, lori. grandchildren, great grandchildren, we hope in this time of loss as you look around here at support and friendship
that you can replace that loss with happy memories after great fella. one loved by all. bob's devotion to public service began when he was 19 years old. here he was an army private. off to fight with courage and some of the most important battles in human history. it continued after he left congress with his extraordinary effort to increase america's investment in medical research. . but he left his greatest mark in public service right here in this building. in his nearly 50 years in house of representatives he said the times he was most proud of were the ronald reagan years. starting in 1981, first year as minority leader when he was able to create coalition it help big parts of president reagan's agenda pass. i was elected two years later. in a that mull you tooous election in 1982. bob was the republican leader at the time and we had adjoining
congressional district. a lesser man and a different leader might have written me off as another freshman democrat. but bob michel treated me as a colleague and friend and i never forgot it. i used to love the story. we would meet just around the corner there once every month with an illinois delegation lunch. and it was such a treat to hear the great stories from our delegation in those days. but especially the stories between bob michel and dan rust makowsky. are there two more different than bob michel of illinois and dan from the city of chicago and you would think there would be knock down but they were closest friends. they would get in stags wagon after adjournment of the house and take turns driving back to
illinois. one would drive, other would sleep on a mattress in the back of the station wagon. that was their regular return home and back and forth. they were that close. and over the years, corinni and laverne and bob and dan were the closest of friends. i never shared a station wagon trip with bob. thank goodness either of us today do that. but we shared commitment to our state and reference for our house of representatives. we were both children of immigrant. like first generation americans shared an awe for this great nation. that's the foundation after friendship for the 12 years we served together in the house of representatives and all of the years since. the last time i saw bob was at cubs game at the stadium he was having the time of his life as usual. bob michel taught about
listening. he never mistook politics for warfare because he had seen real war. like bob dole, and it is an honor you are with us today, accept to senator dole. thank you for being here. mr. warner, thank you for being here, too. [ applause ] men like danny, so many of the greatest generation. there was a quiet battle-tested bravery about him. he showed us that consensus is not weakness. and
it was our honor to know and work with fun of the finest. and in his great beloved hometown of peoria, one of the tributes after his passing read, that they certainly don't make them like bob michel any more. i might add, we are all the lesser for it. thank you. [ applause ] >> the democratic leader of the united states house of representati representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. >> good afternoon, everyone. senator dole. senator warner. thank you for honoring us with your presence. many honors are afforded members of congress, but to be asked to speak at a memorial service for leader michel is an honor indeed. and an honor to be here with speaker ryan and senator durbin, vice president cheney, secretary
baker, secretary lahood, secretary jack lou, pitts. i will talk about the two of them later. today we remember a beloved former colleague who embodied the highest ideals of our democracy. leader robert henry michel. in this hallowed hall gathered beneath the great statue of cleo, the muse of history, cleo and her clock remind us that our time is short and history is watching. she remind us that we are part of history, that our word and our access will face the judgment of history that we are part of the long and honorable heritage of our democracy. this distinguished gathering is a tribute to leader michel's leadership, service and civility em bodying everything we hope our heritage would be. bob michel was a patriot, proud
immigrant son, soldier and great american statesman. a patriot indeed. and in world war ii bob served with heroism an honor which earned him the first congressional distinguished service award. in the congress leader michel fought for the people of peoria in his beloved illinois. brought the values of the heartland to washington and he personified the highest ideals of our nation. his valor and leadership was recognized with the presidential medal of freedom with the high honor of knights of the legion of honor. we all benefitted from his wisdom, his dignity, and his integrity. bob once said, understanding the other person's viewpoint is the beginning of political wisdom. it doesn't mean we will always agree, but it does mean that when we disagree, it is a disagreement based on fact.
what great guidance. lead leader michel remind all of us that we have a role to play in strengthening our democracy. let us carry forward bob's courage, his conviction and his civility. with this kacharacteristic civility and grace, and aim sure it'll attempt that democrats in the house who served with limb and sin him and since then all loved and respect respected bob michel. tip o'neill served as speaker. he yielded the speakers office to bob michel. that office is now named for bob michel and brings joy to all of us an brings luster to that office that is bears his name.
i'm telling you this one fstory about jack who worked with tip o'neill and they were visiting boes gorbachev in soviet union and they were interacting in such a bipartisan way that when tip o'neill's spokesperson wasn't able to lead the event billy pitts stepped in for democrats. billy and jack, please stand up. because they probably are the two closest people to tip and bob michel. [ applause ] it wasn't that long ago when we were all gathered in a stat areary hall for the service for speaker tom foley. and all of us remember the
beautiful, beautiful presentation that bob michel made about tom foley and about bipartisanship and working together and respecting each others' views. bob michel was one of the last people that tom foley saw before he left us. whatever the politics were, the personal and respect always prevailed. heard leader michel add role in strengthening our democracy but also understand we were in a political disagreement from time to time. leader michel and democrats may disagree on proposals, but he led us that way on the importance of public service. i believed in the truth and believed in working out the dif repses of the american people.
he had devotion to his late wife, love for their children, grand children and great grand children. and i hope the grand children and great grand children that are here understand how much their grandfather is revered and for a long time to come. bob michel was most proud of being a husband, father and grandfather. so for many of us, it was such an honor to serve with him, to be his colleague in the congress. a privilege to serve with him. an honor to call him colleague. and a joy to call him friend. and many of us, maybe, presuming, but he made us feel that we were always his friends. to scott, bruce, lori and robin, thank you for sharing your father with all of us oifr tver years. may it be a source of comfort to you, to your whole family, the
people of illinois and people of america would loved him, is a so many join all of you in celebrating the life of this extraordinary american. mourn your loss and praying for your family at this sad time. but thank you again for sharing this great patriotic american statesman, the person who taught us all so much about civility and about our country. a great patriot. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states army chorus. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
the united states house of representatives, the honorable dick cheney. >> good afternoon. this is a sad occasion, obviously, for all of us but also an opportunity to give thanks for the fact that we were able to share time with bob. he was a major, major influence in my life when i arrived here to the '78 election. bob took me under his wing. taught me a lot about what he knew about the house. he did his darndest with some success. got me elected to the leadership in my first term. made me a member of the intelligence committee. committee assignments were very important. and eventually put me in charge
of the iran contrainvestigation. and inloved every one of those. i was never quite certain it would come out the way bob thought it was going to come out but his role as my mentor, i'll never forget. my highest aspiration was to follow in bob's foot steps and hopefully some day become the speaker. speaker ryan and i have often reminisced over the fact that my desire was to become speaker of the house and his was to become the vice president. didn't work out quite the way we planned. bob was one of the finest men i've ever known. there can't be any other who spent so much time here but yet were held in such thoroughly
high regard by echb frveryone f beginning to end. our leader was never known to make a disagreement personal or give way to hostility and show jiens jien signs of injured vanity. and forget about holding a grudge. bob wouldn't know how to acquire a grudge in the first place. he was a straight-up guy through and through. void of pretense as any man could be. like his counterpart, senator ole, bob new a far bigger test than a heated vote or debate. i guess when you've landed at normandy, led a platoon in combat, wounded by machine gunfire in the battle of the bulge, you gain a perspective that doesn't come any other way. you know what a real fight looks like, what a real loss looks
like and politics are all a little bit more manageable. when we're young and we first start brereading about politicse picture a certain kind of individual to serve in congress. maybe in time, reality teaches us a little differently. in this case, the man and ideal were awfully close. for the gentleman from illinois commanded respect well beyond anything required by title. he was a man of courage. rekt tude and personal kindness. a friend we looked up to and were happy to have in our lives. we honor bob for all that he gave to america and we're grateful for all that he meant to us. [ applause ] >> former united states secretary of state, honorable jim baker.
of course it is traditional to refer to members of congress as the honorable. and bob michel's case it was particularly appropriate when people called him the honorable bob michel. because it was a simple fact. he was a most hon aorable man. the words, duty, honor and country were not catch phrases for bob michel. they described a prescription for almost everything he did. he was a masterful legislativor of course and leader of his party in the house who had enough accomplishments to fill the rotunda of this building where he worked for so very long. but more importantly, he remained the generous and descent man whose ego was as
humble as his midwestern roots. after all, as senator durbin has said, how can you not like someone who cusses like a choir boy? while the halls of congress echoed with super charge skplet tifs deleted, bob would smile and say, geez. or maybe if he was really steamed, dag nabit. a conciliatory influence who knew how to work with democrats, bob was also tough and strong wild and he knew how to swing votes. without his skill we could never have helped president reagan achieve his 1986 inkuks tax reform. only time our tax system has been completely overhauled successfully. with a deadline approaching, we gathered in our leader's office and began working the phones a
to seek support from wary members. it took a lot of calls and it took a lot of horse trading. bill pitts remembers all this. but we got it done. it was classic michel. fair, but very strong. rather than rely on a trait that sadly i'm afraid to say is envogue today, bob's actions always spoke a lot louder than his words. in what now seems to be a long lost approach to governance, bob preferred to reach across the aisle than battle across the aisle. he could and he did disagree agreeably. and so i can just imagine the scene when bob arrived at the pearly gates not very long ago. he's greeted by st. peter. who smiles, spread his arms
wide, and tells him it's good to see you up here, bob. but dag nabit, you really are missed back down there. thank you. [ applause ] >> former united states secretary of transportation, honorable ray lahood. >> thank you all for being here. we knew that this would be a standing room only crowd, and i can't pass up the opportunity to recognize the chief justice of supreme court, john roberts. when i called the chief justice and invited him, i told him what an honor it would be for the family. when bob left congress, he went to work at hogan heartson which is now hoekian level and he met one of the top partners there, john roberts. and they became good friend.
and so mr. chief justice, i know it's an honor for the family to have you here. and i know that bob would be so humbled to have your presence here. so thank you for coming. [ applause ] bob michel's life reflects the perfect definition of what tom brokaw called the greatest generation. bob was raised by two loving parents with his two sisters in peoria, illinois. he learned his strong midwestern values of faith in god, hard work, and play by the rules in peoria. he and corinne raised an all-american family, obviously. bob served his country for 50 years as a decorated war hero and world war ii. as an american hero to his
constituent from the 18th congress gregsal district and as a teacher for those of us who had the greatest privilege of working for him. i consider myself as well as many other people sprinkled throughout this wonderful stat areary hall, a graduate of the robert h.michel's school of applied political arts and sciences. if i could just for a moment ask all of you that were touched by having the privilege of serving as a bob michel staffer to stand up just to say thank you to all of you, for what you did for our leader. please, stand. all of you that were a part of it. [ applause ]
when you worked for bob michel you were part of his family. he cared as much about you as a staffer as he did his children or dwrand children. bob's office, floor of the house, committee rooms and farms and towns of the 18th district, everywhere he went, he taught his staff by his example what it means to be a great public servant. president john adams once said the constitution is the project of good heads, prompted by good hearts. bob taught us that both a go ahead and a good heart are necessary in order to be a good congressman. but also to be a good staffer. bob taught us by example that the 18th congressional district should offer a forum for reasoned debate among constituent equal in dignity. bob taught us to respect every
person no matter their opinion or political persuasion. i heard him say on more than one occasion, you learn much more from listening. bob worked everyday. either in washington or in the district, for the people. not to engage in ideological mellow dramas or political vendettas and he expected and demanded all of his staff to do the same. bob knew warfare at firsthand, not war in the steven spielberg movie or war fought in the pages of a book, but real war. i guess that's the reason that he never used macho phrases like warfare and take no prisoners when discussing politics with his staff. to bob, the harsh personal rhetoric of ideological warfare had no place in his office, no place in the house, and no place in american politics.
he knew that the rhetoric we use often shapes the political kkss we take. i never saw bob get angry. or use a swear word. lots of deviations of swear words, but never a swear word. whenever there is a debate on the house floor, or in the 18th district, conducted by men and women with good heads and good hearts, treating each other with mutual respect, bob michel's long rich history of respect for others, and uncommon decency to all will endure. he was a great congressman, a great leader and great teacher. three final thoughts. many of you that knew bob knew that he was the best gardner in the world. if you drive by his townhouse on
a street today, what you will see are barrels in front of his house with tulips coming up, planted by him. the best tulips. best flower beds. he taught all of us about flowers and how to plant them and when to plant them. when to pull the tulip bulbs up. he was a great gardner. he spent more time on his garden than any piece of legislation that he ever wrote. bob michel loved bradley university. we add wonderful memorial service at bradley a week ago. to honor bob. and on that university there are a couple buildings that are named in his honor. that's where he met the love of his life, corinne, and where he developed his love for music. bob was an extraordinary singer. he loved to sing. i traveled with him all over the
district on many occasion and he was either whistling or sing heing. he loved singing. and would he have loved what you all presented today and thank you for doing that and thank you for being here. [ applause ] and finally, bob michel, the cub fan. many of us in this room received christmas cards from bob year in and year out. great family pictures going way way back to 1956 of and '57 when he was first elected. the best christmas card picture was this year, which is on the back cover of the program. bob stayed up until 2:00 in the morning when the chicago cubs won the world series. and i called him the next day and i said, did you watch the game? he said i stayed up until 2:00. and he wasn't feeling that well. there is nobody that was a more long suffering cub fan than bob
michel. nobody. and he loved it when the cubs won the world series and he never dreamed that he would live long enough for that to happen. so we are grateful to the rick ets family and all of the p em th people that put together that great organization that helped a great cub fan watch them win the world series.that put together organization that helped a great cub fan watch them win the world series. i'm going to end with a quote from the journal star. i was told only 300 words but when i saw the speaker go over and the other speakers, i figured, i am. i want to read from an editorial tribute that was in the peoria journal star. and it's a quote from bob. michel was quote always proud to say he was from peoria. and this is a quote from me when i was asked about this.
and the reporter asked me if bob was going to be buried in peoria. and i recall my asking him, bob, do you want to be buried at arlington cemetery? which by all rights he would be able to do. and he said, no. he said, everett dirksen was a big man and he was bob's mentor. he was congressman before bob was elected and senator while bob was serving. he said if everett dirksen was not too big to be buried if peoria then i'm not too big to be buried in peoria. and the final quote in this editorial is from bob and it begins, you never know for sure how you're going to be perceived in history. but you want to be a credit to your kids and to the people that are closest around you that they
will maybe take a leaf from your book if it's desirable. and will fill the shoes that get emptied when you pass on. and so lastly, we remember a bob michel who did that. who made congress better by being here and who brought honor to his hometown of peoria. let me introduce finally scott michael. when the michel family gave me the privilege of helping them organize the memorial service in peoria, and here,el. when the michel family gave me the privilege of helping them organize the memorial service in peoria, and here, all of us, except for scott, thought that family member should say something. and we persuaded scott to be the spokesman for the family.
you all know bob loved every one of his children and his grandchildren and so scott really stepped up and decided that he would be the one to represent the family. so please welcome scott michel. [ applause ] >> thank you, ray. first, let me thank all of you on behalf of the entire michel family for joining us here this afternoon to celebrate the life of my dad, bob michel. since his passing last month in arlington, virginia, i've read glowing tributes, news articles and obituaries capturing highlights of his illustrious career and ex tolling virtues of his character. what i want to tell you today is that the qualities that propelled him to such lofty heights were made a part of him
by his father and mother, charles and anna michel back in peoria, illinois. his parents instilled in him values and character that developed, matured, and later were passed on to his sons and daughter just as his parents had done for him. as i got older and had a son of my own, i look back and tried to replicate what i saw. and learned what i was growing up. what did i say and learn? first, i saw a larger than life figure with a booming voice, a vivid presence, and the bearing of a leader. he was in charge. even though his work in washington meant we only saw him
twice a month on weekends, he called us everyday to talk about our academic, athletics, instrument and chores and the house. we saw him even while away and we saw his commitment and influence which was constant and reassuring. second, when he was at home, we saw up close what he was made of. and that made a lasting impress performance-enhancing drugs impression on all of us. learning his life lesson was simple, just watch and listen. his lessons weren't taught so much by conversation than by simple observation. we could see how he interacted with my mother. how he treated her. how he respected her. how they spoke with each other. it was with love, sensitivity and without harsh or bitter words. we could see how he treated each of us, too. he was fair.
even-handed. strict when needed. held us accountable for our access and expected no less than our best at whatever we were doing. whatever tasks were were given or whatever you're school studies demanded.e were given or whatever you're school studies demanded. were given or whatever you're school studies demanded. all of this reinforced his desire for us to be responsible. he also showed us how to be humble by practicing humility. bragging was called out. so was self-centeredness and arrogance. he showed us that working hard and doing a good job was its own reward. he showed us how to be honest. by demanding the truth from us, and expecting no less when dealing with others. he showed us how to be generous and compassionate by his countless efforts to help, assist, console and empathize with those less fortunate or had fallen on hard times. he taught us to treat others the
way we would want to be treated. that sounds like the golden rule. as i look back at values and character that i witnessed growing up with my father, his humility, his his work ethic, his generosity, his respect for others, and his abiding faith in god and our country, i feel so fortunate and blessed to have had him as my father. he loved us and his family in every way and with all his heart. he was a one-of-a-kind role model, and while his accomplishments in public life make us all so very proud, it is his values, it is his values and character that he instilled in each of us that means the most to us, and that will be his lasting legacy. godspeed, dad. i love you. i miss you. i know you're in god's hands now. before we close i'd like to ask that you all join the u.s. army
chorus in singing "god bless america" which is one of my dad's favorite songs, especially when he could lead the singing. [ laughter ] as he did on numerous occasions. >> ladies and gentlemen, please join in as the united states army chorus sings "god bless america." ♪ ♪ god bless america land that i love ♪ ♪ stand beside her and guide her ♪ ♪ through the night with the light from above ♪ ♪ from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam ♪
♪ god bless america my home sweet home ♪ ♪ god bless america my home sweet home ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand as house chaplain, the reverend patrick conroy, gives the benediction. >> repray, dear lord, as we close our time together, send your spirit of peace and consolation upon us, who mourn the loss of the honorable former minority leader of the house,
bob michel. he was a glowing example, an icon of what it means to be a man for others. his decades of service to his home state of illinois and to our great nation will be long appreciated by those whose lives are forever blessed by his life's work and dedication. his belief in the durability and transcendence of congress as an institution, the first branch of government, is a challenge in this day of severe partisan divide and a persistent and seeming inability to consider compromise in order to reach consensus. may some from both sides of the aisle be inspired to emulate such a great statesman. may your angels, o god, come to greet our beloved bob michel and may those who mourn him here be
and means committee finish up about hk this morning and finishing midday the energy and commerce committee, marking up the republican health care repeal and replace measure, and that measure now goes on to the house budget committee, possibly next week with a final passage vote in the house, also possible by the end of the month in the house before moving on to the u.s. senate. next up we will show you some of the energy and commerce markup session, they were in session for about 27 hours, it begins here with a bit of humor from the committee vaseman, joe barton of texas, who offered to treat the full committee to breakfast if members would vote on the remaining amendments that time in one bunch or on block. the democrats turned down that offer. >> the chair would point out that it's dawn. if the minority would be willing to move all their amendments in block and accept a no vote on a voice vote. >> aye. >> and if the majority would accept the barton, bl