[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 196 (Wednesday, November 18, 2020)]
[House]
[Pages H5929-H5930]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                            FAREWELL REMARKS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2019, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Conaway) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. CONAWAY. Madam Speaker, before I get to the heart of what I came 
here to talk about, I would encourage the two gentleman who just spoke 
to sign the discharge petition on the bill that would do much of what 
he just talked about, and that is reopen the PPP program to those small 
businesses that would be eligible to participate in that. So if they 
would take that small step, then that may be able to alleviate some of 
the issues we are dealing with.
  Madam Speaker, the first remarks that I gave in this Chamber were 
during the debate on a concurrent resolution to count the electoral 
college votes for President Bush and Vice President Cheney after the 
2004 election. While I had been in the House Chamber before that 
January day in 2005, stepping up to the podium was an entirely 
different and nerve-racking experience.
  The Capitol is quite a bit more familiar to me now because it has 
been 16 years that I have been able to serve. The tunnels are no longer 
a mysterious labyrinth. I have grown accustomed to long days packed 
full of hearings and briefings and meetings. My walking speed is 
certainly quicker than it used to be.
  But it is with the same awe and wonderment that I felt on January 6, 
2005, that I stand in this Chamber today to deliver my final floor 
speech as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  When Suzanne and I began this journey back in 2002, we had no idea 
that this is where it would wind up or how long it would last. All I 
knew was that I had a window of opportunity to serve my community, and 
I thought I could do a decent job.
  There is a verse in the Bible, Luke 12:48 which says, ``to whom much 
is given, much shall be required.'' That verse has guided much of my 
decisionmaking. God has blessed me with a little bit of talent and an 
awful lot of life experiences that I thought qualified me to do this 
job.
  There is often an easy path in life, but rarely is it the right path 
to walk. I have done my very best to use my

[[Page H5930]]

Judeo-Christian principles to guide my life and my time in Congress. 
The work that I have been able to do has been extremely gratifying.
  This institution is important, Madam Speaker. It is enshrined in our 
Constitution. The job that you and I do is important. You and I, 
however, are not particularly important outside that job.
  We use the words ``thank you'' across a wide spectrum of emotions. We 
say thank you for opening the door, thank you for picking up something 
I dropped. The comments I am about to make are at the other end of that 
spectrum.
  I could not have done what I have been able to do, and I certainly 
could not have succeeded as well as I have, without the steadfast, 
loving support from my wife, Suzanne Conaway. Suzanne has stood by my 
side at more events than I can imagine. She has listened to more town 
hall meetings and stump speeches than anyone should ever have to listen 
to. She has handwritten some 8,500 thank you notes over the last 18 
years. And she has, of course, put up with the hectic schedule you and 
I get to live under. Her faithful support means more than I can put 
into words. Thank you, Suzanne.
  The people of the 11th District of Texas are good and decent and 
kind, hardworking, honest Texans who have trusted me to do right by 
them for the past 16 years.
  Madam Speaker, when you and I ask for someone to vote for us or when 
anybody asks someone to represent someone, we are basically asking them 
to trust us. Trust us to go do something on their behalf day in and day 
out. You and I will make hundreds and thousands of decisions that will 
never get any input from the folks back home. They simply trust you and 
I to do it right.
  That trust is earned over a long period of time, and it will 
evaporate in a nanosecond if you or I screw up something in that 
regard.
  Trust is held in high regard in west Texas, and I have been honored 
to have that trust from the folks in District 11 for 16 years.
  No Member of Congress gets to do what I have been able to do by 
themselves. It simply doesn't happen. There are hundreds and hundreds 
of people across District 11 that have played a direct role in the 
successes I have had in Congress. I thank the folks in District 11.
  I have also been blessed with the best staff any Member could ever 
ask for. My staff in the district is responsible for helping countless 
constituents navigate the Federal Government through their superb 
casework.
  Madam Speaker, I can't tell you the number of times I have been 
confronted by a happy constituent, whose life is just a little less 
difficult based on something one of my constituents' service folks has 
done on their behalf. The great news is they think I did it. I didn't 
do it. My great team on the ground did it. They do all the hard work, 
and I get the credit. It is great being a Member of Congress.
  My professional staff in D.C. contributes mightily across the entire 
spectrum, providing counsel on every topic imaginable. All of my 
committee staff over the years, including the House Ethics Committee--
which is a thankless job--the terrific job that the House Intelligence 
Committee staffers do to help me navigate the Russia investigation, and 
most notably, the outstanding folks at the House Agriculture Committee, 
who have done incredible work for me and production agriculture and 
rural America over the last 6 years, including, Madam Speaker, passing 
a farm bill the same calendar year that it was introduced.
  Thank you to the best staff and the most loyal staff any Member ever 
had.
  To my fellow Members of Congress and the new representatives-elect 
who all will take that new oath of office next January, remember that 
your word is your bond. It is irreplaceable.
  Wisdom is not only knowing when you are not the smartest person in 
the room but bringing that person on to your team. That technique has 
worked extremely well for me. Be an honest broker, no matter who you 
are talking to.
  And, Members, protect this institution. It is worth fighting for. It 
is enshrined in our Constitution. And never, ever do anything to bring 
discredit to this House.

                              {time}  1900

  Madam Speaker, our Nation faces some incredible challenges. We have 
heard a description of the pandemic and the wreck that it is causing 
across this country.
  We face a debt crisis, a looming, pending debt crisis that will soon 
swamp this Nation if we don't begin to address those hard comments.
  We face a great power competition with China and, to some extent, 
with Russia.
  But I personally don't believe those are the most threatening and 
immediate threats that our Nation faces. Our Nation faces a moral 
decline and the inability to self-govern.
  John Adams wrote that only a moral and religious people can, in fact, 
self-govern. This form of governance is unsuitable for anyone else.
  There are things going on in this country that God cannot bless. We 
use the words ``God bless you'' and ``God bless this country'' often. 
We sing it in songs. We use it particularly casually, almost like the 
thank-yous I talked about earlier. But each time you hear those three 
words, ``God bless you,'' think about what we are asking God to bless, 
whether what is going on in this Nation is, in fact, blessable.
  Since 1973, we have killed over 62 million young babies in this 
country. God can't bless a nation that long continues on that path.
  There are lots of other things that are going on in this Nation that 
God simply cannot bless. At some point in time, He is going to say 
enough is enough, and He will put this USA through the same crucible 
that he put the nation of Israel through throughout the Old Testament 
when they walked the path that we are walking. I fear that is coming 
upon us.
  There is a solution, though, to that issue. The solution lies in the 
promise that God has made us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says:
  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, turn 
from their wicked ways, seek my face, and pray, I will hear them from 
Heaven. I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land.
  I will argue tonight that our Nation has never needed healing more 
than we do tonight except during the Civil War.
  That is the promise that God has made. That is also the solution that 
God provides us if we claim it, if we claim it as an individual, if we 
claim it as communities, if we claim it as a Nation.
  Let's be those people that will humble ourselves, turn from our 
wicked ways, seek God's face, and pray. He will hear us from Heaven. He 
will forgive our sins. And, Madam Speaker, He will heal our land.
  My time in Congress has been the absolute highlight of my 
professional career. I will miss wandering these halls late at night. I 
will miss looking up from my desk and seeing the Dome. But most of all, 
I will miss the colleagues who have turned into friends and my staff, 
who has become family.
  Madam Speaker, God bless each one of you, God bless Texas, and may 
God continue to bless the United States of America.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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