Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks today at a reception honoring the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“It is not forgotten in the pages of history that the sandstone walls and marble floors all around us in this Capitol were built by slaves. Yet less than 20 years after this building was completed, Hiram Revels came here – not as a slave, but as a Member of the United States Senate. We stand where Senator Revels, and Congressmen Jefferson Long, Joseph Rainey, Robert Elliot and Josiah Walls began the work that you continue today.
“The CBC is known as the ‘Conscience of the Congress’ – and I can’t think of a more appropriate title. You have always led the fight on the tough issues – the issues that others would rather put aside – the issues that take moral courage: increasing access to education and health care, making the dream of homeownership more attainable, working to protect social security, guaranteeing a fair and equal right to vote, and more.
“Just as important, you have opened doors and paved the way for a new generation of leaders who will continue the fight long into the future. And today, the CBC has never been more influential. You will celebrate your annual Legislative Conference for the first time in 13 years with a Democratic majority – and with a record four Committee and 17 Subcommittee chairmanships.
“But for all the progress we’ve made, we all know that there’s still a long, steep climb ahead of us. We need to look no further than the tragedy of Katrina, the injustice in Jena or the words of Bill O’Reilly to realize just how much work there is left to do.
“That’s why we need to work together – House and Senate – to provide the relief to New Orleans that is so desperately needed and so long in coming. It’s why we must continue to oppose judicial nominees whose records betray the cause of civil rights and social justice. And why we must keep fighting to end a war without purpose that continues to take the lives of our sons, daughters, friends and neighbors.
“Although your membership resides mostly in the House, your constituents are our constituents. We will continue working with you in the Senate to keep the march of progress moving forward.”