(Senate - October 25, 1999)

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[Pages S13067-S13073]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I come to the Senate Chamber this morning 
to comment about the untimely passing of our distinguished colleague, 
Senator John Chafee.
  Senator Chafee died last night of heart failure, and I learned about 
it when I arrived in town this morning, at, I must say, a considerable 
shock. Senator Chafee sat next to me in the Senate. In addition to 
proximity, we were very close on many, many other lines. Senator Chafee 
leaves behind an extraordinary record as a great humanitarian, a great 
Senator, and a really great American. His political career is 
legendary--four terms in the Senate, elected in 1976, 1982, 1988, and 
again in 1994. Prior to that, he served three terms as the Governor of 
Rhode Island. His biography on the web site states that Senator John 
Chafee is the only Republican to be elected to the Senate from Rhode 
Island in the past 68 years.
  He brought a unique perspective to the Senate as a protector of the 
environment and as a firm advocate for expanding health care to every 
American. During the contentious days in 1993 and 1994 when the Senate 
was considering

[[Page S13068]]

the extension of health care, Senator Chafee organized a small group of 
centrists to meet in his office every Thursday morning at 8:30, and 
came forward with a very solid bill on health care. More recently, 
Senator Chafee was the leader of a group of centrists, both Republicans 
and Democrats, to come forward with a Patients' Bill of Rights. He had 
an understanding and a political breadth that led to accolades from the 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and from the American Civil Liberties Union.
  He was the leader of a small group of centrists, also known as 
moderates, and he brought a degree of civility to this body and this 
Congress at a time when civility was sorely lacking. John Chafee could 
walk into a room full of controversy and arguments, strike a middle 
course, and bring Senators and Members on all sides to a position of 
coalescence and accommodation.
  John Chafee was a strong family man, very close to his wife Ginny, 
and was also an active squash player. I tried to lure him to the squash 
courts early in the morning. He would have nothing of 7 a.m. squash. My 
wife lives in Philadelphia; John Chafee's wife lives in Washington. He 
insisted on first things first. You could find him in the afternoon 
frequently playing squash with John Warner, both coming in for a vote 
freshly showered.
  John Chafee brought his son to our centrist meeting recently, who is 
a mayor of Rhode Island's second biggest city and who is seeking to 
succeed John Chafee in the Senate. I noted last Thursday afternoon that 
John Chafee missed three votes. We were on a bill and had three 
controversial votes at 5:30, and I worried a little bit about John 
Chafee but had no idea that the situation was as serious as it 
developed with his passing last night of heart failure.
  John Chafee leaves a powerful legacy in many lives, a real giant in 
the Senate, and he will be sorely missed on legislative lines and on 
compassionate lines because he was such a good friend to all 99 of his 
fellow Senators.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I rise with deep and heavy sadness to 
mourn the passing of a great statesman, my dear friend, John Chafee, 
from Rhode Island.
  There will be a lot of eulogies on the floor over the next several 
days. For the moment, I want to say a few words about a very great man, 
a very close friend, someone who I think is one of the best Members of 
the Senate in many, many years.
  First, a little bit of history about John Chafee. He was born to one 
of the most prominent New England families. He could have coasted. He 
could have gone into business. He could have gone into law. No, he did 
not do that. What did he do? He chose service to his people. It was an 
extraordinary life of service.
  John was a marine. John fought in the historic battle at Guadalcanal. 
A few years later, he reenlisted and led troops in combat in Korea.
  On a lighter note, as far as I know, Senator Chafee was the only 
Member of the Senate who was also a member of the American College 
Wrestling Hall of Fame. Move over, Jesse Ventura. We have a wrestler in 
the Hall of Fame.
  John, after serving in the armed services, later turned to public 
service. He was a Governor of Rhode Island. He was a Secretary of the 
Navy. Since 1976, he was a Member of the Senate.
  When I first joined the Senate about 20 years ago, the last thing in 
the world I believed was over a period of time he and I would become 
very close friends. We were sitting as junior Members, very far away 
from each other, on the Finance Committee and also on the Environment 
and Public Works Committee. I am from Montana. John is from Rhode 
Island. In Montana, we even have ranches the size of the State of Rhode 
Island. We were from very different States with different 
constituencies. Nevertheless, it was a circumstance of seniority that 
brought us together. I was very privileged to work with John. We 
exchanged chairmanships and ranking memberships on the Environment and 
Public Works Committee. We developed a very close relationship.
  He was one of the best persons, in my judgment, in the Senate. On the 
Finance Committee, he worked to balance the budget. He put fiscal 
austerity, on behalf of future generations, ahead of ideology. He 
worked for a system of free trade. Most important, John spoke for those 
people in the shadows--the poor, the elderly, and children. Especially 
children with special needs, whether it was Medicaid or welfare reform, 
John was a very strong advocate. In fact, he was a stronger advocate by 
far than most Members of the Senate.
  On the Environment and Public Works Committee, which he chaired, he 
did so in the great tradition of other New England Senators: Ed Muskie, 
Bob Stafford and George Mitchell. Tremendous tradition on that 
  His accomplishments are legion. We breathe cleaner air because of 
John Chafee. Because of his diligent work on the Clean Water Act, we 
drink cleaner water because of John Chafee. We have a rich legacy, and 
John Chafee left that legacy to our children and grandchildren. In 
addition, he vigorously pushed through the Oil Pollution Act in the 
wake of the Valdez tragedy; the Safe Drinking Water Act; Endangered 
Species Act; the National Wildlife Refuge System is in place because of 
Muskie, Stafford, and, particularly, John Chafee; the Coastal 
Barrier Resources System--all bear John's mark.

  Personally, I will remember John Chafee as a decent, civil, 
courteous, commonsense gentleman. His issues and the legislation he 
worked for were very important. But it is the man who means the most to 
me and is remembered most by me. He reminds me of my father. He never 
raised his voice, never lost his temper, was always calm, always cool, 
often with a little twinkle in his eye, a sense of humor. He had 
respect for life. He knew what was important and not important. He kept 
his eye on the ball and wouldn't let conversations drift to gossip or 
extraneous matters that didn't matter; they prevented Members from 
accomplishing the objective.
  Uncommon common sense. John Chafee had a sixth sense for common 
sense. He knew the basic, balanced, right thing to do.
  Senator Specter mentioned the organizations he put together, the 
moderates working on health care. That is only one of the many examples 
of John Chafee trying to get something accomplished for the good of 
  Unquestioned integrity. We say around here that a man's word is his 
bond. It is true. We always strive toward it because we know it is 
necessary, not only to get legislation passed but it is one of the most 
important things in life. We knew when John said something it was true. 
No one ever questioned what John said.
  My father's name was John. Maybe that is part of it. The two of them 
remind me so much of each other. Both were veterans and knew the 
importance of America--maybe because they were veterans. John knew from 
fighting at Guadalcanal, fighting in Korea, fighting for American 
virtues, American values and what is right in America. Maybe that is 
what enabled him to keep his perspective and calm.
  It has been mentioned he is a family man. I saw it many times. Not 
too many days ago I was on the floor with John and he said: Gee, I 
promised Ginny I would be home by 2 o'clock today. His legs were 
bothering him. Gee, I want to get this bill passed; I will vote on 
  He was torn for the right reasons, torn between family and duty. But 
he gave honor to both because they were so important to John.
  I, too, was stunned when I learned of John's death last night. We 
will miss him terribly. He was a most wonderful man. His memory will be 
embedded strongly in all of us. It is a memory I know I will cherish 
forever and ever. I will always see John's twinkle, his smile, his 
earnest sense of trying to do the right thing.
  On behalf of my wife, Wanda, and my staff, our deepest sympathy and 
condolences go to Ginny and the family, as well as members of John's 
staff, some of whom are on the floor. John was very close to his staff. 
It is a wonderful, tight knit family. Our deepest condolences go out to 
all of them.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, listening to Senator Baucus, I am 
reminded of a couple of other items about Senator Chafee which I think 
ought to be mentioned. One is that he served as Secretary of the Navy, 
and, secondly, he served in the Marine Corps during

[[Page S13069]]

World War II and was part of the invasion of Guadalcanal, the largest 
of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.
  He was recalled during the Korean war. I had always wondered about 
the fairness of the World War II veterans being recalled during the 
Korean war. I served myself during the Korean war stateside as a 
special agent in the Office of Special Investigations of the Air Force. 
At that time, so many of my colleagues avoided military service by 
going off to law school or graduate school. I had noted at that time 
that so many veterans were so called. Ted Williams stuck in my mind, a 
great baseball player, who served during World War II and went off to 
the Korean war, cutting short his playing time.
  I had a discussion with John Chafee about that one day. I asked him 
about his views on being recalled to active service during the Korean 
war when so many were not serving at all. In his characteristic 
patriotic way he said, no, there was a job to be done and he was going 
to do it. He was glad to serve again in Korea, a marine in the toughest 
kind of work.
  That was John Chafee; always a great patriot and a great American.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from Nevada is 
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, last week Paul Laxalt and I were talking 
about some general items, and the name John Chafee came up. We had a 
pleasant visit, Senator Laxalt and I, talking about John Chafee, 
talking about how much we liked him, what a good guy he was, what a 
good friend of ours he was. In my opinion, the United States has lost 
one of its true heroes. John Chafee died last night. I say this not 
simply to honor his time in the Senate, where he served with 
distinction for 23 years; I say it because of the way John Chafee lived 
his life.
  From a very young age, he showed the characteristics of leadership he 
went on to display throughout his whole life. When John was only 11 
years old, he saved the life of a young boy who had fallen into a 
frozen pond where they were playing hockey. Everyone else stood around. 
Little John Chafee went into the water to save this boy's life.
  He was a student at Yale during the Second World War. He had 
completed 3 years of school at Yale when he joined the U.S. Marine 
Corps to go fight for his country, and fight for his country he did. On 
his 20th birthday, he participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal--a 
marine who served with distinction in the Second World War.
  The definitive book written about the Korean War is a book called 
``The Coldest War,'' written by a man named Brady. The hero of that 
book is John Chafee, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps during that 
coldest war. I have spoken on any number of occasions about John 
Chafee, about what a hero he was to me and to the rest of the country. 
I am happy to do that today so this Record can be spread throughout the 
Senate for his family, his staff, and many, many friends.
  John Chafee truly was a hero, as indicated in that book, ``The 
Coldest War.'' He is a man who served as Secretary of the Navy during 
the height of the war in Vietnam. He was a very, very effective 
legislator. He was, as has been indicated by Senator Baucus, a very 
quiet, self-effacing man. He assumed positions of leadership that would 
have been easy to simply avoid. On the committee on which I served with 
him for 13 years, Environment and Public Works, he was a leader even 
before he became chairman of that committee.
  Some of the finest work John Chafee did is not legislation that has 
been completed. One example is the Endangered Species Act, a very 
difficult bill that had to come forward. He was able, 2 years ago, to 
put together a very important piece of legislation, and got the help of 
the subcommittee, Governor Kempthorne, then-Senator Kempthorne, so we 
had two Republicans and we had the ranking member of the full 
committee, Senator Baucus, and I was a ranking member of the 
subcommittee. We all joined together. None of us wanted to be on that 
legislation, but we had to be because it was the right thing to do, as 
the leadership of John Chafee indicated. It was legislation that should 
have passed. We are always going to look back at that piece of 
legislation, saying if we had done that, the problems with the 
Endangered Species Act would be behind us.
  He served as Governor of the State of Rhode Island, and his service 
in the Governorship of Rhode Island, even though many years before he 
came to the Senate, was marked by the same dogged determination to get 
things done. He did not believe in the status quo. He didn't believe in 
gridlock. He had determination and spoke up when he felt strongly about 
issues, and there were a lot of issues he felt strongly about, such as 
health and the environment.
  He was elected Governor of the State of Rhode Island when he was 39 
years old. By that time, though, he had already served in two wars, had 
come back to Yale and completed his degree there, and then got a law 
degree from Harvard. That is pretty good. Even that was not the end of 
his service. Before becoming Governor, he served 6 years in the General 
Assembly of the State of Rhode Island.

  As Governor of the State of Rhode Island, he helped bring Rhode 
Island into the modern era. He created the State's community college 
system, created the Rhode Island Public Transportation Administration, 
which did many things but is noted for the construction of Interstate 
95 and the Newport Bridge, two infrastructure projects that allowed 
Rhode Island to flourish as it does today.
  He fought for fair housing and unemployment laws. He fought to get 
things done. He not only fought for them but was able to get them 
passed. He provided for State-provided heath care for the elderly long 
before Medicare came into being. He developed the Green Acres Program, 
which was a visionary concept of protecting Rhode Island's natural 
wonders for future generations, which is a precursor to this antisprawl 
talk we are now hearing from the White House. They only need to look 
back 20 or 30 years ago, and John Chafee had done the same thing that 
is being talked about with this urban sprawl problem we now have.
  The leadership John Chafee showed as Governor of Rhode Island in the 
mid-1960s led the Republican chief executives to name him their 
chairman. In 1969, President Nixon called upon this man, John Chafee, 
to take on the challenge--and it was a challenge at the time--to be 
Secretary of the Navy during the height of the Vietnam war.
  I have heard several conversations, they love to joke about it, when 
John Warner--who is a member of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee--when he and John Chafee get together to talk about their 
service, one as Secretary, one as Assistant Secretary, and the 
difficulties they had during the time the Vietnam war was going 
forward. He did a great job as Secretary of the Navy.
  He then spent several years in the private sector, but in 1976 he was 
elected in a Democratic State--Rhode Island is perhaps the most 
Democratic State in the Union, but John Chafee did not let that stand 
in his way--he was elected Governor. I identify with Senator Chafee. He 
was elected Governor by about 400 votes. I have been in a number of 
close elections myself. Perhaps that is one reason I identified so much 
with Senator Chafee.
  He served as Governor as if he were elected by 400,000 votes, and he 
served in the Senate in the same manner. He was a person in the Senate 
who quickly established himself as an authority on the Nation's budget.
  Of course, as we know, he was a member of the Finance Committee, 
where he worked hard on tax policy, and was chairman of the Environment 
and Public Works Committee, where he worked hard on environmental 
protection. He was one who always stood for civil rights and human 
  He was an independent person, and we all know how independent he has 
been in the Senate. We all need to take a page out of John Chafee's 
book, especially with the rank partisanship that has been taking place 
in this body for the last several years. John Chafee was a person who 
did not believe in partisanship. He continued to stake out modern, 
consensus-driven positions that marked his entire career. I admired his 
ability to go to people on this side of the aisle to develop 
  There are those who argue Senator Chafee spent many of his years 
advocating positions that were outside the

[[Page S13070]]

mainstream view of the Republican Party in the Senate, especially when 
he talked about issues of gun control, health care, and the 
environment. That probably is not the case. I believe John Chafee 
represented the mainstream of America. He was tremendously important 
and good for the Republican Party, as he was for this country.
  At the core of his being, John Chafee believed the American people 
sent us all here to get things done, to compromise. And ``compromise'' 
to John Chafee was not a bad word. He knew that legislating was the art 
of compromise and that we had to compromise for the best of the 
country, not simply bicker with one another.
  As I have indicated already, I had the pleasure of serving with 
Senator Chafee for 13 years in the Senate. For the last 5 years, he has 
been chairman of that committee. I have been so impressed with his 
willingness to wade into difficult problems. I had so many meetings in 
his office in the Dirksen Building where he would say: OK, where are we 
on this? OK, we will get together tomorrow to see where else we can go.

  He was a tenacious legislator. He knew legislation was more than 
standing on the Senate floor giving speeches. I have learned a great 
deal from him.
  I will never forget his work to improve our Nation's air and water 
quality, improve highways, transit, and all the infrastructure 
programs. He was so involved in toxic waste. He was a man who believed 
in Government working for the betterment of each of us.
  It was not at all unusual at critical junctures of negotiations on 
important bills to find him working late at night. He did this from the 
time he arrived in the Senate, I am told, to the present, and I can 
vouch for that personally.
  Environmental issues are some of the most difficult issues we have to 
tackle in Washington, often bringing out sharp divisions, sometimes 
even partisanship. Senator Chafee was always looking for ways to cut 
through the rhetoric and get things done.
  While we have not been able to report out a lot of legislation--
Superfund, endangered species--it was not his fault. He was frustrated, 
but he never lost his determination to push forward, and he always did 
it in good spirits.
  Some of the giants of the Senate in the 20th century are people who 
have served as chairmen of the Environment and Public Works Committee, 
men such as Robert Stafford of Vermont, Jennings Randolph of West 
Virginia, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, of course, of New York. John 
Chafee clearly deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as all of 
them. He truly was a great Senator. In fact, it is fair to say when we 
list the great Senators of the 20th century, it would not be complete 
without the name of John Chafee.
  I close by saying I liked John Chafee. He was my friend. He was one 
of the rare people from the other side of the aisle who, during my 
election--this last election--asked me: How are you doing? We knew each 
other well enough--he could not help me financially or give speeches--
that he cared about my legislative welfare. He is a man I will never 
forget. He set an example for me. If I can be the same type of Senator 
John Chafee was, I will certainly be happy.
  I extend my condolences to John's wife Virginia, their 5 children and 
12 grandchildren, the citizens of Rhode Island, and the hundreds of 
past and present members of John's staff who worked hard for him and 
loved him dearly. The Senate and the Nation have lost a great man--John 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from California is 
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. President, I join the distinguished Senator from Nevada in saying 
a few words about Senator John Chafee. I believe our Nation lost a 
pillar of the Senate last evening. I found John Chafee to be a deeply 
principled and highly intelligent Senator. Additionally, he was one of 
the nicest men I have ever had occasion to know in the Senate or 
anywhere else.
  I had the pleasure a couple of years ago of being a dinner guest at 
the home of John and Virginia Chafee in McLean, a warm, hospitable 
home, a home that had 8, 10 people gathered around the table informally 
for dinner, where both John Chafee and Virginia Chafee presided with a 
warmth and a hospitality that made it the nicest evening I have ever 
spent in my 7 years in Washington.
  I really liked John Chafee, and I had the pleasure of working with 
him on a number of issues. His record on the environment, on health 
care, and on gun control is second to none. As chairman of the Senate's 
Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Chafee was a leading 
voice in crafting the Clean Air Act of 1990 which strengthened the 
Nation's emissions standards. Recently, he led successful efforts to 
enact oil spill prevention and response legislation and a measure to 
strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  John Chafee has won virtually every major environmental award in this 
country due to his tireless efforts to protect our Nation's resources. 
Recently, we worked together on an effort to rid California's gasoline 
of MTBE, and just last Thursday, standing right over there in the 
Senate Chamber, I said: John, when are you going to be able to pass 
some legislation out of the committee on MTBE? We remarked how moving 
on this issue has been made more difficult by the ethanol lobby.
  I said: You know, John, we really have to move because, in 
particular, of the California situation.
  He said: I know, I know, and I really want to do something to help.
  That is the way he was--a very special person who could see beyond 
his own State's parameters and really reach deep into the hearts of 
many of us who represent States even on the other side of this great 
  I will never forget earlier this year when we stood at the White 
House together to call for meaningful gun legislation. A few years ago, 
he even angered many conservatives when he pushed for a ban on the 
manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns. He was a man who 
believed in his principles, and he brought them with him to the Senate. 
Regardless of political party, he responded to those principles when 
the time came for such a response.
  The series of events I went through with Senator Chafee which showed 
me the most about him was an earlier effort in a group called the 
Centrist Coalition. This had to do with developing a balanced Federal 
budget. It took place around, I guess, 4 years ago. We worked for a 
couple of years. There were 11 members on the Republican side, 11 on 
the Democratic side. Senator Chafee chaired the Republican portion; 
Senator Breaux chaired the Democratic portion.
  In meeting after meeting, I saw John Chafee's span of knowledge 
across a whole host of budget items. The Centrist Coalition did, in 
fact, prepare a budget. We did, and with no hearings, put it on the 
floor of the Senate. And believe it or not, it got 46 votes. It came 
close to passing. Many of the major points in that centrist budget 
actually became part of the leadership understanding with the White 
House that effectively produced a balanced budget in this Nation. A lot 
of that diligence and pursuit, over a 2-year period of time, really is 
a hallmark of the way in which John Chafee worked.
  As a member of the Finance Committee, Senator Chafee worked to 
successfully expand health care coverage for women and children and to 
improve community services for people with disabilities.
  In 1990, he spearheaded his conference's Health Care Task Force and 
became a prominent figure in the national health reform debate. He went 
on to lead a bipartisan effort, as has been spoken of on the floor 
earlier, to craft a comprehensive health care reform proposal in 1994.
  He was also an adamant supporter of a woman's right to choose. He 
opposed the gag rule, which prohibited doctors at federally funded 
clinics from discussing family planning and abortion services with 
their patients.
  I think Senator Reid, and also the distinguished Senator from 
Montana, mentioned his service in the Marine Corps in World War II. 
From talking to John Chafee on the floor of the Senate, it was hard to 
see him as a robust marine at Guadalcanal. But one of the things I have 
learned in my life is sometimes people you least suspect are the first 
ones to jump in the river to save a drowning person. I rather suspect 
that was John Chafee, that just

[[Page S13071]]

as he was a Senator's Senator, he could be a hero's hero. So he left 
behind him a very distinguished military reputation, in which I hope 
his wife and family will always take great pride.
  John Chafee, to me, was a giant in this body. His civility, his 
manners, his intelligence, his ethics, his credibility were never in 
challenge by any member of either of our two great parties. As such, I 
believe he leaves an indisputable legacy.
  I thank the Chair.
  (The remarks of Mrs. Feinstein pertaining to the introduction of S. 
1774 are located in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced 
Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from Oklahoma is 
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I have been sitting this morning and 
listening intently to all the comments that have been made about our 
very close friend, John Chafee. I do not have a prepared statement, but 
I do have some thoughts I think I want to share.
  It happens that this weekend, at the time that this happened, I was 
on the U.S.S. Eisenhower, where they were doing F-18 and F-14 maneuvers 
and trying to figure out how to get trained for something that is 
coming up in their deployment to both the Mediterranean and the Persian 
Gulf. So we were talking with some of the military types about John 
Chafee. And about John you hear all these things. I have been listening 
this morning about how he was such a great guy. But people forget what 
a hero he was during the Second World War, and then again in the Korean 
  In fact, I got on his committee when I was first elected, coming from 
the House to the Senate in 1994. There is a tradition that John, every 
February, would have his new members, along with all the other members 
of his committee, for dinner. It was a very festive occasion.
  I used to look forward to going to that dinner and not saying 
anything but sitting quietly and listening to the war stories told by 
John Warner and John Chafee. You could sit there and relive the whole 
Second World War in a way you will never read about.
  When you think of him and the image that he has today, and the image 
of him that we have been exposed to in the recent years, you do not 
think of him as being the type of person who would be a war hero. But 
he was. He was. And every time he told his war stories, it always came 
back to talking about the love he had for America, what America meant 
to him, the reason it has to stay strong.
  I think it is interesting, because you hear a lot about his political 
philosophy, and some of the things he stands for are not consistent 
with standing for a strong national defense, yet he did. He was very 
unique in that respect.
  I listened to the Senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein. She did 
such a great job of describing this very gentle person. The Senator 
said in her comments, I believe three times, that he was a giant, and 
that she knew John was a giant, and she could look at him and see the 
things he did that nobody else could do--that he was a giant.
  One of the things that is interesting in listening to those who have 
been saying such eloquent things about John is they are talking about 
what his stand was on different issues. As a conservative, who 
disagreed with most of the issues they talked about, I still had a love 
and reverence and respect for John Chafee that is every bit as much or 
more than some of the others.
  I think it is kind of an interesting thing; you look at a guy who 
does not vote the way you vote on things, and yet every time he would 
say something about the various issues Senator Feinstein talked about, 
I would stop and think it over: This is John, so maybe I need to be 
listening a little bit more. I think he had a greater impact on people 
who disagreed with him than he did on people who agreed with him.
  I appreciate Max Baucus and the things he said. He has served for 
some time as the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee, a very significant committee and one that is handling things 
that affect us in our everyday lives. And when he talked about John's 
unquestionable integrity, I cannot build on that. That is true. That is 
John. Senator Reid also talked about what a giant he was.

  I would only add, that of all the characteristics John had, the word 
that comes to my mind is love. You had to love John Chafee. A lot of 
people don't like me, certainly a lot of them don't love me, but I 
think of John Chafee and say: Who couldn't love John Chafee? I feel so 
rich that I have had the honor of serving with him and being close to 
  This morning when Kay, my wife, and I were talking about John, she 
recalled her last conversation with Ginny was during our February 
dinner, the very eloquent dinner he has had every 2 years that he 
hosted at, I believe, the Metropolitan Club. Kay had been talking to 
Ginny for a long time. Their subject, Kay told me this morning, was he 
had already announced 3 days before that dinner that he was going to 
retire from the Senate after all these years. Ginny was talking about 
how they were looking forward to their traveling and all the things 
they were going to do.
  Now Ginny is left with 5 beautiful children and 12 grandchildren. I 
remember how proud John was when he talked about his son, Lincoln, who 
is running for his seat. So John was a family man. He loved his kids 
and loved his grandkids. Maybe that is what we all had in common. But 
this place will not be the same without John Chafee. John Chafee was 
the lovable giant.
  I yield back, Mr. President, and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. President, several speakers were intending to be here 
to talk in morning business. With the untimely death of our friend John 
Chafee, I think this time is going to be reserved for Members who wish 
to talk about the Senator and his life. I would like to do that for a 
  I have had the opportunity, for my time in the Congress, to serve 
with John Chafee on the committee of which he has been chair. I had the 
opportunity to become acquainted with certainly one of the most 
outstanding Senators who has ever been in the Senate. I will not go 
back over all the things our friends have already said. But each of us, 
I suppose, has a little different memory, a little different feeling.
  John Chafee certainly epitomized the meaning of public service, from 
leaving college and going into the Marine Corps in World War II, to 
serving again in Korea, to serving his State as a legislator, as 
Governor, serving the country as Secretary of the Navy, and serving 
four terms in the Senate, devoting his life to public service and doing 
it in such a way that he will always be remembered.
  Senator Chafee was dedicated, of course, to this country. He 
cherished freedom and risked his life and sacrificed for the freedom 
you and I enjoy. So it is hard to lose a friend of that kind.
  John Chafee and I didn't always agree on the issues. He came from 
quite a different world than I--he was from Rhode Island, and I am from 
Wyoming--in terms of many of the issues, but we were always able to 
talk about them.

  John Chafee came to Wyoming at my request to take a look at 
endangered species, and he drove out into the wilderness to look. He 
rode around a ranch. He and a friend of mine got in a pickup, and he 
looked at a different world than he was accustomed to--because of his 
service, because of his friendship. So, certainly, no one personifies 
more that feeling. Nobody was more gentlemanly and more friendly than 
John Chafee.
  In terms of service on this floor and in terms of cooperation, we 
worked through a number of things, such as highway bills, endangered 
species bills, and EPA things, which are contentious. But John Chafee 
would always listen. John had wisdom to share and was willing to share 
  So I am sure we all feel the tremendous loss of this Senate leader, 
one of the best in America. I am sure many of

[[Page S13072]]

us will come to the floor to share their views and feelings. Senator 
Chafee represented the best of this country in many ways. His 
leadership, statesmanship, and abilities will be sorely missed, not 
only in Rhode Island but nationally. We all send our very best and our 
prayers to his family.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Voinovich). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative assistant proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I come to the floor of the Senate today to 
recognize the passing of a colleague and a very dear friend, Senator 
John Chafee of Rhode Island, and to express my condolences to his 
lovely wife Virginia and their family.
  I was just elected to the Senate in 1996 and found I had the 
opportunity to serve on two committees with Senator Chafee. He 
continued to serve as chairman of the Committee on Environment and 
Public Works, and I also served with him on the Intelligence Committee.
  I will take a moment here to recognize my good friend's 
accomplishments in life and how much I appreciated serving with him in 
the Senate. He was truly a remarkable individual. He graduated from 
Yale and then got a law degree from Harvard in 1950. He served in the 
Marine Corps as well as being Secretary of the Navy. He was a patriot, 
a hero, serving this country's interests in World War II and Korea.
  My wife and I had an opportunity to join him and Virginia at a dinner 
when I was just elected to the Senate and had just joined his 
committee. I think it was Senator Inhofe who said he traditionally held 
dinners for new members of his committee. I got an opportunity to visit 
with him about some of his experiences, and he was a delight to visit 
with, as was his wife Virginia. We had a great time that evening.
  Senator Chafee worked hard on Social Security issues. He was a leader 
on health care. In fact, he worked in the subcommittees on both of 
those issues in Finance, and then as chairman of the Environment and 
Public Works Committee. I found he was extremely fair and encouraging, 
somebody who could work with Republicans and Democrats.
  Even though I disagreed with him, as I found myself at times 
disagreeing with him because I did represent a Western State with some 
different views, particularly in regard to water, in committee he 
always gave me a fair chance. He gave me an opportunity to express my 
views and to represent the citizens of Colorado. I really did 
appreciate him for his fairness.

  He did a lot to help me be effective in that committee. He made sure, 
wherever possible, if he could work with me on environmental issues 
that were important to Colorado, he did that.
  I had an opportunity, which I took, to move from that committee to 
Armed Services. Even though I did not continue to serve on the 
Environment and Public Works Committee with him, he continued to be 
helpful and whenever I had environmental concerns I brought them to his 
committee. I appreciated his commitment to being a team player and 
helping everybody in the Senate.
  John was a great person; he was a nice person; he was a helpful 
person. I will continue to remember his dedication.
  Just to show how he grew on you, I like to look at his achievements 
in elected office. He ran for Governor in 1962 and was elected by a 
mere 398 votes. Then in 1964 and 1966, 2 years and 4 years after he 
originally ran for Governor, he won both times by the largest margins 
in that State's history. Not only did he grow on those who knew him 
personally, but in his public service he grew on those whom he 
represented. In fact, when he was elected, he became the only 
Republican to be elected to the Senate from Rhode Island in the past 68 
years, and he served 4 terms in that capacity.
  He was, indeed, a public servant, somebody who worked hard on 
environmental issues. At times I found I could agree with him, and I 
recognized his efforts on conservation and open space preservation. I 
also recognized his dedication and work on the Intelligence Committee. 
The Intelligence Committee is one of those committees where much of 
what we do is not shared with the public. I want the public to know 
today, Senator John Chafee was a valuable resource on that committee, 
considering his experience in World War II, his experience in Korea, 
and having been Secretary of Navy.
  I will always remember Senator Chafee as a friend. I want his family 
to know my wife Joan and I will miss him.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative assistant proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, I am here today with a saddened heart at 
the passage of probably my best friend in the Senate, and the House.
  It is not often we get to be close to someone in this body. 
Oftentimes, we have friendships, but they are not personal friendships. 
This was a personal one to me--starting from the time I first knew him 
in the House. When I came to this body in 1989, I was appointed to his 
committee, as I took the place of Senator Stafford from Vermont. And 
thus, I got to know John immediately and found there was little, if 
anything, on which we ever disagreed.
  His leadership on difficult decisions was without parallel to those I 
have known in this body. He was one of our greatest heroes in this 
Nation. I know others have exalted his wartime service at Guadalcanal 
as a marine.
  Also, I remember having met him when he was Secretary of the Navy. I 
was in the Navy at the time. So my memories go back a long time.
  But my friendship was mainly based upon John's tremendous personality 
and his dedication to work and his ability to get things done. He was a 
man of courage on the battlefield and in the political arena. I do not 
know anyone who did not like and respect John Chafee.
  When I first came to the Senate in 1989, I served on the Environment 
and Public Works Committee with John as my ranking member. He took me 
under his wing and helped guide me in the big shoes I had to fill in 
the wake of Bob Stafford, as I mentioned.
  We had many trying problems at that time. We had the reauthorization 
of the Transportation Act. But the most memorable experiences I had 
dealt with the Clean Air Act, and not only in the committee but also 
having been appointed, along with him, by the then-majority leader, 
George Mitchell of Maine, to be on the Clean Air Task Force.
  As one can remember, that was one of the most contentious pieces of 
legislation with which we have ever dealt. It took the holding of hands 
and nursing each other along to make sure we could get the votes 
necessary to pass that very controversial act. That placed me in even 
greater awe of John's capacity to lead and to be listened to.
  I also recall in 1995 and 1996 meeting day in and day out in John's 
office to develop a centrist health care package. We spent a year as 
John toiled trying to pull together a middle ground on a health care 
package. John's work to do that was well recognized. Although it never 
came to fruition at that time, it did give an alternative to the plan 
which had come from the White House and did give us all something to 
work on to try to develop a health care package that would serve this 
Nation. Although it did not work then, and did not work more recently, 
it was tried from the center, and it did give to us many thoughts and 
approaches which have been adopted in the health care package which did 
pass this body.
  John's work to preserve the environment, especially for New England, 
to me, again, showed he was a leader.
  John and I ate lunch together every Wednesday for the last 10 years, 
along with some others, especially from New England, and also Arlen 
Specter. But we always discussed the matters of policy on which we 
would have agreement.

[[Page S13073]]

 Also, I spent several evenings with John at dinner, when he would say, 
hey, let's go down to the Metropolitan Club, or elsewhere, and have 
dinner together. Those were also memorable moments in my life, as we 
had many things to discuss; but it was as much about ourselves and our 
families as it was about the great problems of the Nation.

  John Chafee represented the State of Rhode Island with distinction 
and represented what was best about this institution. My thoughts and 
prayers go out to his wife, Ginny, and their 5 children and 12 
grandchildren, and also to his wonderful staff, who I have gotten to 
know over the years, who have most capably served him.
  John's memory also goes to the time he came and campaigned for me in 
my State, and all the other times we had a chance to work together. 
Most, I remember that if I ever had a question on how to vote or I came 
in at the last minute and did not know what the issue was--I hate to 
admit to that--I would first look to see how John voted. I knew, if 
nothing else, if I voted as he did, I probably would not get in 
trouble. I suppose we all have moments similar to that that we don't 
talk about politically, but when you have that kind of an individual 
whom you can count on to give you the right direction, it is very 
important here, especially on some of the tough issues we have where 
those of us who are called moderates have to cast votes at times where 
we don't get friends on either side of the aisle.
  I also want to speak out to John's staff. I know how sad and 
tremendously burdened they now feel at his passing. But if it was not 
for his staff and their tremendous capacity, I know John could not have 
accomplished the things he did as a Senator. They will miss him deeply, 
but so will I and so will the other Members who got to know him and his 
staff well over the course of time.
  I know all of us are sad today. I am getting to the point where I 
better quit.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair, in his capacity as a Senator from 
the State of Ohio, suggests the absence of a quorum.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative assistant proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Acting in my capacity as a Senator from Ohio, 
I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be 
  Without objection, it is so ordered.