Andrews bids House farewell

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) praised both House Republicans and Democrats for providing the "fuel that makes the country better" during his farewell speech Tuesday.

Andrews, who leaves Congress after more than 23 years to work at a law firm, did not mention the ethics scandal that has dogged him. Instead, he used his speech to applaud the House's accomplishments during his tenure.

Andrews touted the House's passage of the Affordable Care Act, which he said will be a pillar for middle-class prosperity.

Andrews said the House's fight over ObamaCare signaled healthy debate, not division, which he said showed good intentions from both parties.

"The House is a rambunctious and energetic place," Andrews said. "People should not confuse debate with division. Healthy, passionate debate is the elixir of American democracy. It is the fuel that makes the country better.

"For those who look at the House and say that all we every do is argue with each other, I certainly hope so," he continued. "I certainly hope we bring to this chamber deeply held beliefs, deeply held convictions and express them during the course of debate."

Andrews praised Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for his leadership, but also credited Boehner's predecessor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as the best Speaker in history.

Though Pelosi and Boehner have represented contrasting views of Democrats and Republicans, Andrews said every member of the House has America's best interests in mind.

"May this chamber never lose the convictions of people right and left, Republican and Democrat … because it's what makes democracy go," he said in closing. "I can safely say I have never met a fellow member who has not loved this country, who was not here for the purpose of improving this country."