House Leaders React to Kennedy’s Death

Posted August 26, 2009 at 10:51am

“Senator Kennedy had a grand vision for America, and an unparalleled ability to effect change. Rooted in his deep patriotism, his abiding faith, and his deep concern for the least among us, no one has done more than Senator Kennedy to educate our children, care for our seniors, and ensure equality for all Americans. Ted Kennedy’s dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration. Sadly, Senator Kennedy left us exactly one year after he inspired the nation with his speech of optimism, vitality, and courage at the Convention in Denver.—— Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

“Throughout his final illness, Sen. Kennedy was privileged to have the best doctors and the best treatment. But he never forgot, in this as in all cases, those who were not similarly privileged: those waiting hours in emergency rooms this morning for a doctor’s care; those who went to sleep last night unsure that they were covered, uncertain that their families could cope with the financial burden of an illness. For their sake, health care reform was the cause of Ted Kennedy’s life. For their sake, and his, it must be the cause of ours.— — Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

“Ted Kennedy was also a friend to inner-city children and teachers. For the better part of the last decade, Ted and I worked together to support struggling Catholic grade schools in inner-city Washington. By helping these schools keep their doors open and helping them retain their committed teachers and faculty, this joint effort made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of inner-city children, who otherwise would have been denied the opportunity for a quality education. It wouldn’t have been possible without Senator Kennedy and his genuine desire to give something back to help inner-city students in the city in which he’d served for so many years. I’m proud to have worked with Senator Kennedy on this project, and I will dearly miss his friendship and his partnership in this cause.—— Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio)

“His body of work spans a near half-century, but will live forever. He was the protector of the least of these and the champion of equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all Americans. Whether it’s civil rights, education, public health or a livable minimum wage, his work has improved American lives in a myriad of ways.—— Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

“Senator Kennedy’s service in the Senate spanned nearly a half-century, and his influence upon that institution and the Democratic Party is undeniable.—— Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.)

“Senator Ted Kennedy was elected in Massachusetts, but to millions of Americans he was our Senator. A tenacious fighter for working men and women who share the belief that America is the greatest country in the world. His passion and purpose were dedicated to righting wrongs and ensuring that our better days are ahead.—— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.)

“Ted Kennedy was a true friend. He came to Michigan in 2002 to campaign for me during one of the toughest races of my career. During that race, he told me he’d do whatever he could to help me — and he meant it. If he was fighting for a friend, he’d throw himself on the tracks to save you. He knew all too much about grief, but he knew how to heal and console and he shared those lessons with anyone who needed them. The hundreds of men and women who served on Capitol Hill will all tell you he could be the most fierce warrior as well as the most compassionate soul.—— Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), dean of the House