Schumer Floor Remarks On The Passing Of Congressman Elijah Cummings

October 17, 2019

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor to honor and mourn the passing of House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here:

“We woke up this morning to learn with profound sadness that our friend and colleague, Congressman Elijah Cummings, the son of sharecroppers who became the Chair of the House Oversight Committee, passed away last night at the age of sixty-eight.

“It was the first thing I saw when I read the paper this morning, and it hit me like a punch to the stomach. In his 23 years in Congress, Elijah amassed a legacy that will live on long after his sudden passing. He served the people of his Maryland district with selflessness, passion, and grace. Since it only happened this morning, I can’t do justice to the legacy of Elijah Cummings, but I’d like to share a few reflections. And I know that my dear friend, Senator Cardin, was close like brothers with Elijah Cummings and they had worked together on so many things for Maryland and the country, that I know he is here sharing our deep sadness.

“Now, truly, Elijah Cummings was not just a great congressman; he was a great man. He had such a presence, a commanding presence when he entered the room. And he could be strong when he had to be, and he had to be quite often, but he also was always kind and decent and caring and honorable. It’s a rare combination. That inner strength and that decency and that kindness. Elijah had it. If we lived in happier times, maybe the public would have seen more of this kind side more often, but Elijah was never one to shrink from the moment.

“I talked to him frequently. We’d talk about the goings on of the House or Senate or the political trivia of the day. Sometimes we’d talk about Maryland politics—he was an expert. Elijah was revered by his constituents and indeed by the entire state of Maryland. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, black or white, you went to Elijah Cummings for advice.

“His loss is an enormous one, for his constituents, for his staff, and above all, his family. I pray for them this morning, and I pray for our country when the Elijah Cummings of the world are no longer with us.”