Press Release ● Congress
For Immediate Release: 
February 27, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a dedication ceremony to rename the Committee on Oversight and Reform Hearing Room in honor of Chairman Elijah E. Cummings. Below is a transcript of his remarks.

“For decades, perhaps centuries, people are going to walk into this room. They are going to look up to see the ‘Elijah Cummings Oversight Committee Room,’ and they [are going] to turn to somebody and say: who was Elijah Cummings? And perhaps those who knew him well will say: ‘he was better than us.’

“I had the great honor of being Elijah’s friend and colleague for many decades. He and I did not overlap at the [Maryland] General Assembly. He was the Speaker Pro Tem, the first African American Speaker Pro Tem, and we now have the first African American woman [Speaker Pro Tem) because Elijah came and led the way... Elijah was the best of us. Elijah was in public life for the best of reasons. Elijah brought to him an experience and experiences that informed his empathy for others. 

“It was one year ago today that our dear friend Elijah presided over a hearing and said the following, and we repeat this so often because it is so compelling. He sat in that Chair [and said]: ‘When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked: in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?’

“It was that power in his morality, in his integrity, in his passion to America and its people that will be remembered when people walk through that door and look up and know that they are in the Elijah Cummings Committee Room. Every day of his career in public service he was dedicated to making sure that people who had the same experience, the same challenge would be lifted up by those in power… 

“Arm in arm with the angels, Elijah is surely looking down on us with hope and conviction that we will continue his work. Here in this room, that work will surely continue and will be informed by [his] example, both from the Minority side and the Majority side. And for generations to come, Members, staff, witnesses, and citizens who come to watch proceedings will all see his name above the door, a place where justice springs forth to cleanse the darkest corners of our country, wherever corruption or malfeasance tries to entrench itself in our republic of laws. And whenever we as a nation encounter setbacks in that work or see the march of justice slowed to a crawl, Elijah’s memory will surely inspire Americans to keep going, to keep cooperating, to keep creating consensus so that we are a better, fairer, more equal, more inclusive America. To keep striving, to keep working for a more perfect union, a more just America that he knew to be our birth right.

“We miss him, always, everyday on this Hill. I know that Maryland misses him every day. I personally miss him every day. Some of you heard me say, as long as we served together, Elijah nominated me for office in this leadership every time I ran.

“God, thank you for giving us Elijah Cummings to bless this country, to bless his family, to bless his colleagues, to bless his community, to make us better, to that which we could be – to be all we could be. John Kennedy said ‘let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.’ Elijah, you did God’s work, and you did it well.”