House leaders offer tributes from floor to Elijah Cummings

House leaders offer tributes from floor to Elijah Cummings
© Greg Nash

Top lawmakers from both parties paid tribute on the House floor Thursday to House Oversight Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsMaryland postpones primary over coronavirus fears Maryland governor: 'Simply not enough supplies' on hand to tackle coronavirus Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges MORE (D-Md.), a longtime lawmaker respected by members of both parties whose death was announced earlier in the day.

Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House MORE (D-Md.), who served in the Maryland delegation with Cummings for more than two decades, praised Cummings for his work on civil rights and his legislative accomplishments. 

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"Today, my colleagues, is a sad day. It is a sad day for us, it's a sad day for this institution and it is a sad day for America. We have lost a wonderful human being — a wonderful human being, a good and decent human being," he said.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Florida Democrat hits administration over small business loan rollout The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update MORE (D-Calif.) lauded Cummings's character, lauding him for his composure, dedication to working for his district and fighting for “equality and fairness.”

“No matter how rough and tumble things would be, he would always just calm the waters, reach out across the aisle or across the issue, across the Capitol, down Pennsylvania Avenue," said Pelosi, whose political roots are from the city of Baltimore, parts of which Cummings represented in Congress. "I know that the people of Baltimore, Congress and America has lost a voice.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Pelosi, McConnell clash over next coronavirus bill Pelosi scales back coronavirus infrastructure proposal MORE (Calif.), the top Republican in the House, said Cummings was a "respected adversary, because he was tough."

"He had such a presence on this side of the aisle and impression that when we would sit inside our Steering Committee, and maybe I'm breaking the rule, we are never supposed to talk about what we say in there,
whenever we'd select a chair or ranking member, this is the one committee we weighed who we went against,” McCarthy said.

“And every time we spoke of selecting an individual that can rise to the occasion, to be in debate with him, we'd look for somebody that's strong. And every time someone was selected, they'd come back to be a very best friend of Elijah Cummings.”