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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At The Ceremony For The Unveiling Of The Official Portrait Of Speaker Pelosi

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at the ceremony for the unveiling of the official portrait of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks.

When I was a young member of Congress, as many of the old timers here know, I joined with fellow Democrats every Tuesday night for dinner, usually Italian.

One night George Miller—a California Democrat who was a member of this group—told me something quite audacious. He said, “you're going to meet someone in a minute. She's our new congresswoman from San Francisco. One day she'll be speaker.”

When I met her, I immediately knew what George meant.

From the start, it was obvious, this new member had it all. She knew the issues, she knew the politics, and most importantly, she knew what she was fighting for. That person, of course, was Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi.

Today, it is my honor—my bittersweet honor—to join with Congressional leaders to unveil the official portrait of Speaker Pelosi. The proud daughter of Baltimore. The distinguished Representative from California. The first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.

For a century and a half, the lobby next to the House Chamber has been adorned with portraits of speakers past: Sam Rayburn. Tip O’Neil. John Boehner of course. And today, the portraits of these men will be forever joined by the likeness of another Speaker, a Madam Speaker!

It is a most fitting tribute, because few leaders in American history have been as effective, as driven, as successful as Speaker Pelosi. I'm known for having a lot of energy, but I have never, ever, ever met anyone with more energy and drive than Nancy Pelosi. She is always, always working.  

And Nancy, from one Leader to another, one of the things I will forever admire is how you always kept your caucus united. For over 20 years, she kept saying the same thing: “our unity is our strength.”

She kept saying it and saying it and saying it, and the results speak for themselves.

We cannot talk about the Affordable Care Act without mentioning Nancy Pelosi. We cannot talk about the American Rescue Plan without mentioning Nancy Pelosi.

We cannot talk about the Infrastructure Law, the Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Act, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and so much more without mentioning Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi. She did it all.

And yet for all of her successes, I learned that Speaker Pelosi is at her best during the hardest moments, none harder than January 6th.

In the face of insurrection, there was Nancy with us in the safe room: unshaken, calm, determined to secure the building and keep democracy going.

As hard as January 6th was, working with Speaker Pelosi to keep Congress in session – watching her, marveling at her – was one of the proudest moments ever of my time in office.

And through it all, Speaker Pelosi has been a beloved friend.

You all know this: every time you hop on the phone with Nancy, the first thing she asks – she asks me all the time – was, how’s your family doing? How’s your new grandchild?

And then the first thing she updated me on was her family. She has shared with all of us, and certainly with me, the ups and downs of life, from birthdays to weddings to graduations, and especially Paul’s recovery, which we’re all so happy for. So, we all know Nancy is a masterful legislator, but we all know something else: she’s an even more wonderful human being. 

Finally, and maybe most importantly, Nancy Pelosi has made the world a better place for countless women and girls from all walks of life. Somewhere out there a future “Madam Speaker” awaits her chance to make a difference, and when that day comes, she will be standing on my friend Nancy Pelosi’s shoulders. Thanks to Nancy Pelosi, young women across the country today and for generations to come won’t have to wonder if they too can dream big, go far, and do their part to make the world a better place.

So thank you, Nancy. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your friendship. It’s truly an honor of a lifetime to work with you.