House honors Rep. Hall, 89, for being oldest member to vote

"Today, we recognize Chairman Hall's 22 years of service to the American people and the 4th district of Texas, and wish him many more."

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Hall, who chairs the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, was born on May 3, 1923, and on Tuesday was a bit more than 89 and a half years old.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) started a one-hour special-order speech in Hall's honor, and said that on Christmas Day, Hall will be the oldest person ever to serve in the House. Smith's remarks followed brief comments from others, including Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), who said Hall has told him stories about playing baseball with Red Sox great Ted Williams while serving in the Navy during World War II.

Smith was followed by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who recalled how she called him up after he switched parties from Democratic to Republican in 2004, to say "I still love him."

"In thirty seconds, he called me back," she said. "I really meant that. I meant it then, I mean it now, because party has never been anything that separated friendship, and he's a perfect example of that."

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) said that as a youngster, Hall had a job pumping gas in Texas, and one day filled up the gas tank of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the notorious bank robbers of the early 1930s. Olson said the couple tipped Hall a quarter.

"Ralph pumped gas for Bonnie and Clyde," Olson said.

After several speeches, Hall took the floor and encouraged both parties to work together to overcome the various challenges Congress is facing.

"I fear for this country… today, that if we don't get together… and maybe forget that we're more Republican than we are Democrat, and more Democrat than we are Republican, that our children are going to suffer," he said.

Hall predicted that compromise would be reached on big issues in the next Congress, and said the House has a "good Speaker" and a "kind Speaker" in John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Hall started by thanking others for honoring him during the hour-long tribute to his life and career. "I've enjoyed the speeches I've listened to here," Hall said. "A lot of it was true."

— This story was last updated at 8:27 p.m.