Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

August 21, 1974

Mr. Speaker and my former colleagues of the House of Representatives:

You do not know how much it means to me to come back and see all of you and to be so warmly welcomed. It makes one's political life a great, great experience to know that, after all of the disagreements we have had and all of the problems we have worked on, there are friends such as you. It is a thing that in my opinion makes politics worthwhile. I am proud of politics, and I am most grateful for my friends.

Mr. Speaker, I was glad to see that the rules of the House of Representatives have been changed. I was expecting, knowing that the House was considering a bill from the Committee on Banking and Currency, that I would have to go to my old friend, the chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency [Representative Wright Patman], and get a couple of minutes.

But let me say after 10 days of the honeymoon, Mr. Speaker--and I recall the old adage, "out of sight, out of mind"--I just wanted to drop by my old home to say "hello."

Mr. Speaker, as most of you know, my wife, Betty, and I packed up our belongings and moved across the Potomac earlier this week. We were reminded of what Harry Truman said when he moved out of the White House in 1953: "If I had known how much packing I would have to do, I would have run again."

I did better than Harry did. I went to Chicago. It is a beautiful house down there, as all of you know, not only beautiful in appearance inside and out, but it has great, great traditions.

But, Mr. Speaker, let me say that our--and when I say "our" I mean my wife Betty and the family and myself--our affections for the White House will never surpass our love for the House of Representatives and for the fine men and women who work here.

You have all been extremely generous in your support, extremely generous in your good will, and you have been extremely generous in your advice. But it has all been good, and I hope you keep the flow going.

I said on the other side of the Capitol, in the other body, a few moments ago, that I was making a few remarks as an inauguration of Pennsylvania Avenue as a two-way street.

I have asked your help in the past when I was in the House, and I am going to ask it now. This is a standard procedure for Presidents, but I am not making, I hope and trust, a pro forma gesture when I ask your help in the remaining days of the Congress. You know and I know that I do not believe in gestures. I never have and I never will. So when I ask your help, I mean it.

I want to reiterate, the help I have sought in the last 10 days has been responded to in a beautiful way, and, Mr. Speaker, your leadership in this has made it much, much easier for me, and for that I am deeply grateful.

Together we have got a big job ahead, and I emphasize "we" on the basis of togetherness, for if we do work together as we have in recent days, we can get the job done.

I want to express my appreciation for the response that has come already in the Cost of Living Council monitoring legislation; the action taken in reference to some of our spending problems; the action taken in housing, in education, and in pension reform. These are all landmark pieces of legislation. This is a good achievement for the Congress, and this is legislation that I am proud of and privileged to sign as President of the United States.

I will be coming back when you return from your much-deserved recess, and I will be coming back to ask your help in the future. I think we can continue to work together, and if we do, it will be the best for the country, and the best for you, and certainly the best for me.

I have noted in my contacts throughout the country that the public wants us to work together, and we can prove that such togetherness will be beneficial.

Let me conclude by simply saying that I think we have a good team in the executive branch, and it can work as a team with a good team on Capitol Hill, the House and the Senate. With that kind of partnership, a good team in the legislative and a good team in the executive, America cannot help but move ahead for the betterment of all.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 3:10 p.m. His remarks as printed above follow a text printed in the Congressional Record.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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