Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014—Continuedby Senator Daniel Coats
Posted on 2014-12-11
COATS. I wish to make some remarks about the Senator from
Louisiana. I had the pleasure of serving as ranking member of the
Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, and Mary Landrieu was the
chairman. I wasn't sure about what to expect when I joined that
committee. I knew of Mary's passion and her persuasion, which is given
in a gentle but effective way. She reaches out. I thought, she is going
to convince me out of just about everything. I will not be able to hold
my own with her, but she was so gracious in terms of working together
with me as we worked through some very tough issues.
She was a knowledgeable and effective leader. She couldn't ask enough questions, couldn't gain enough information, making wise decisions, given the limitations that we had relative to appropriations and given the process that, unfortunately, was not the way the Appropriations Committee should go forward. Nevertheless, working together on that and on a whole number of issues turned out to be a very pleasant experience because of the nature of the leader of the committee and their willingness to work together.
You get to learn something about someone when you spend 3 days trekking along the southern border on the immigration issue. We climbed into tunnels, driving along fences, talking to Border Patrol agents, looking at the enormous channels that exist relative to that border and our Border Patrol people and immigration control people. Both of us were right there in blue jeans and tennis shoes in hot weather, and learning firsthand the challenges this country faces relative to dealing with immigration.
Her passion for children and her State has been talked about. I think the word that best describes Mary is passion. She has passion for the engagement in anything that she engages [[Page S6652]] in and doing it in a way that is relentless and reaches results. I think it is a great tribute to her character and to the kind of person she is.
One thing we will not be able to do is meet together somewhere in Russia. I have been banned from Russia and Mary has been banned from Russia. I was banned because I took significant exception to the Russian takeover of Crimea and its activities in Ukraine. I was surprised by that. Mary was banned for an unnecessary reason, and that was trying to help Russian children who were trying to find adoptive parents. Obviously she was successful, and obviously she was as relentless there as she was on all the other issues because Russia saw that as a threat. Here is someone reaching out for all the right reasons and doing something for all the right reasons--passion for children and finding them a home.
I wish Mary the very best going forward in her next chapter of life. I can testify to you from personal experience that there is life after Congress, and it can be a pleasant life. Knowing you, you will be engaged in something very significant--whether for your State or your country. Your life of service, and your family's life of service, is well recognized. So I wish the Senator from Louisiana the very best as she goes forward. It has been a pleasure working with her.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Markey). The Senator from Virginia.