The beautifully restored Ways and Means Committee room resonated with laughter and applause as Cokie Roberts gave her keynote address at the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s (USCHS) July 15th dinner honoring the history of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The evening began with a reception where members of the USCHS Capitol Committee joined current and former Members of Congress and staff of the Committee for passed hors d’oeuvres and drinks. The call to dinner was followed by the Presentation of the Colors by the U.S. Capitol Police Ceremonial Unit. The Honorable Ron Sarasin, President and CEO of USCHS, greeted the nearly 170 guests. President George H.W. Bush, a distinguished former Committee Member, sent his best wishes in a letter read by the Honorable Ron Sarasin. The Honorable Tom Coleman, Chairman of the USCHS Board, led the guests in a toast to the Committee.
Among the crowd were four former Chairmen of the Committee: Bill Archer, Bill Thomas, Charlie Rangel, and Dave Camp. As well as former Ranking Member Jim McCrery and two former Committee Members, Barbara Kennelly and Nancy Johnson, who were among the first women to serve on the Committee.
As those gathered enjoyed dessert, the illustrious speakers were introduced. Current Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) looked thoughtfully at the portraits on the walls of past Chairmen and thanked the former Chairmen in attendance for all he had learned from them. Ranking Member Sander Levin (MI) drew the audience back in time as he shared stories about his esteemed colleagues and the former Chairmen of the Committee. Both emphasized the unique importance of the issues facing the Committee. Cokie Roberts, journalist, author, and member of the USCHS Board, gave a candid, insightful, and humorous keynote address as she told stories about growing up in the Capitol and in the Ways and Means room in particular.
The event was generously supported by