(House of Representatives - December 18, 2012)

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[Pages H6856-H6863]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Flores). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Woodall) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I hope 60 minutes will be 
enough because we're here tonight to honor one of the great servants of 
this institution, Jay Pierson, who has dedicated the last 34 years to 
the service of us, particularly on this side of the aisle; but, it's 
noteworthy to say, to folks on both sides of the aisle.
  I want to go ahead and get started with someone much more eloquent 
than I am. Actually, he is a gentleman who has served here on the floor 
with Jay. He is the chairman of the Rules Committee, the gentleman from 
California, David Dreier.
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding. It is a 
great privilege to stand here to recognize and honor Jay Pierson for 
his stellar service to this institution and, by virtue of that, to the 
United States of America.
  Two years ago this month, I stood in the well to honor one of Jay's 
greatest friends, Dean Hirsch, who was the president of World Vision--
an amazing organization that has dealt with hunger and strife around 
the world. Interestingly enough, I was recognizing Dean Hirsch's 34 
years of service to World Vision; and when I think about the kind of 
work that Dean Hirsch has done, in many ways, the issues that we

[[Page H6857]]

address and continue to pursue vigorously here in this institution are 
designed to do the exact same thing. We are focused on improving the 
quality of life and on recognizing societal needs not only here in the 
United States but around the world.
  The reason I talk about this high-minded issue is that it's the kind 
of thing that our friend Jay Pierson has spent his life working on as 
well. Not everyone knows that he has roots in California. He is an 
alumnus of Westmont College, and he is someone who cannot be replaced 
and will not be replaced because he has this amazing skill on the House 
floor to ensure that things go smoothly. Now, things don't always go 
smoothly on the House floor, and you'll notice that when they're not 
going smoothly the reason is that Jay Pierson is not always at hand.
  I will say that this institution is a greater place for his 
incredible service, and he has been a great friend to so many of us. As 
he heads into retirement, in recognizing that many of our colleagues 
want to speak, I just want to wish Jay well and congratulate him on his 
great service. I know that we are going to continue to hear and see 
great things that will come from this very, very patriotic American and 
committed public servant.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairman.
  I would like to yield to the minority leader, the gentleman from 
Maryland (Mr. Hoyer).
  Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for his observations as to who I am. 
It's not missed on me. I am pleased to join the gentleman from Georgia, 
my friend Mr. Dreier, and so many others who I know will speak.
  I've had the privilege of serving in this institution since 1981, so 
I will soon be in my 32nd year of serving in this institution. For all 
of those years, I have served with Jay Pierson. For all of those years, 
he has been a presence on this floor. For all of those years, he has 
been like so many members of our staff--a number of whom we see here on 
the floor with us today--a critical component of the success of this 
institution. David Dreier said that sometimes we do not have peace and 
harmony and good order on the floor of this House. He's absolutely 
correct on that. All of us know it.

                              {time}  1930

  For that, we as Members are responsible, not our staffs.
  Jay Pierson has worked on the minority side and on the majority side, 
the Republican side of the aisle. But like so many of our staff, they 
work not for a party but for an institution created by our Founders to 
be the people's House, the House that is most responsive to the people 
because we are elected every 2 years. We're closest to the people in 
that respect. We need to seek their affirmation on a biennial basis, 
and they send to this House their neighbors, people whom they ask to 
come and reflect their views.
  Jay Pierson has been, for the 30-plus years I've served with him in 
this House, my friend. He's been somebody whom I respect, someone who 
treated us all with respect and was willing to help all of us 
irrespective of what side of the aisle on which we serve. Since 1978, 
Jay Pierson has been an intimate and an important part of the House of 
  Jay, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for your friendship. I 
want to thank you for your always-present civility, helpfulness, good 
humor, and advice and counsel. Few in this House know as much about 
this House as you do; and, therefore, on your retirement, we will miss 
you. But we wish you Godspeed, good health, and much success in the 
days to come.
  Thank you, good friend.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, it is my great pleasure to yield to our 
chairman of the Budget Committee, my good friend Paul Ryan.
  Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to recognize the career 
and the retirement of Jay Pierson. We've been hearing from both sides 
of the aisle accolades for Jay. Jay has been the floor assistant to the 
Speaker, and I want to thank Jay for his 34 years of service to this 
  He began his career in Congress in 1978 by joining the office of 
Republican Leader John Rhodes, and has served three Speakers of the 
House during his career. I've had the opportunity to see Jay's 
contribution to the House during my nearly 14 years as a Member of 
Congress; and while he may work in the Speaker's office, he helps us 
all with our essential duty as legislators and he makes this place run 
  As the chairman of the Budget Committee, I have a responsibility to 
manage the budget legislation on the House floor. That can be a little 
tricky sometimes. You can always count on Jay to greet you with a smile 
on the House floor and to make sure things go well. In addition to his 
demeanor and his dedication, his institutional knowledge and expertise 
on floor procedure will be sorely missed. It's irreplaceable, that kind 
of experience that we've benefited from.
  For all of the outstanding work that he has done in his 34-year 
career, we deeply appreciate Jay Pierson's long service to the United 
States House of Representatives, to Congress, and to the American 
people. We wish him the best in his retirement and his new opportunity 
to spend more time with his family. We are all better served by his 
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairman.
  At this time, it is my great pleasure to yield to one of my Rules 
Committee colleagues, the gentleman from Florida, Alcee Hastings.
  Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Thank you very much. I appreciate very much, 
Rob, you giving us an opportunity to speak regarding Jay's service. I 
am especially grateful to you, Congressman Woodall, for asking me to 
  I met Jay 19 years ago. I've been in this institution now, this is my 
20th year. Nineteen years ago, I had quintuple heart bypass surgery, 
and during the period of recuperation and rehabilitation, I did most of 
my work here on the floor for a protracted period of time and came to 
know Jay during that period of time. As has been said by Congressman 
Ryan and Minority Whip Hoyer, the institution that Jay has served is 
critical and important for all of us, and most of the people that work 
here on the staff--the police officers, the people who report on and 
transcribe our words--go unrecognized year in and year out, even 
sometimes when they retire.
  In this instance, we could do ourselves no less proud than to 
recognize that Jay began, as Paul Ryan just said, in the office of 
Republican Leader John Rhodes, but he also served as assistant manager 
for Speaker Newt Gingrich, the floor assistant for Speaker Dennis 
Hastert, and has served as the floor assistant for then-Republican 
Leader John Boehner and now Speaker John Boehner. Jay is loyal, 
knowledgeable, efficient, fair, and one thing that I don't know how 
many of you have observed, he's also swift afoot. He can get from that 
cloakroom to this floor or to the Speaker's rostrum faster than anybody 
I've ever seen.
  During the 19 years I've known him, we pass each other here in the 
institution, but one thing that is important is that we are constantly 
recognizing each other, and Jay does that with all of us. And one thing 
that I'm going to miss--I don't have many people that I can turn to--
was he was always fair about giving me a clue about when we were going 
to leave this joint. And I'd ask him now: Jay, if you know--I'm coming 
over there to shake your hand. If you know when we're going to leave, 
tell me, please.
  We wish you well, my friend, and Godspeed.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  At this time, it's my great pleasure to yield to the Judiciary 
Committee chairman, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia 
for yielding me time.
  Today we say good-bye to a friend and colleague and a friend on the 
House floor who has served Congress for more than three decades. I have 
known and appreciated Jay Pierson for many years. He's sitting to my 
right back here on the floor right now.
  Jay has been an integral part of the daily activities on the House 
floor, serving as floor assistant to Speakers Gingrich, Hastert, and 
Boehner. It seems there isn't a question to which Jay doesn't know the 

[[Page H6858]]

perhaps when we leave this week. Each time I see Jay on the floor, he 
is always informed and gives good advice.
  Jay has served the House of Representatives with a smile on his face 
for the last 34 years. His expertise and enthusiasm will be missed. And 
we all wish him the best on his well-deserved retirement.
  So, Jay, thank you again for all you've done for so many of us.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, it's my great pleasure to yield to the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Petri).
  Mr. PETRI. I thank my colleague for organizing this Special Order and 
rise just to say a word of thanks and appreciation to Jay Pierson for 
his 33-plus years of service to this institution and for what he 
  Members of Congress stand in the well of the House, and I don't know 
how many people watch C-SPAN on national TV, but, in fact, this 
institution is sustained by dozens of individuals who work very quietly 
and for many years behind the scene both in the Speaker's office, the 
minority leader's office, the Parliamentarian's office, the Clerk's 
office, and so on, people who really dedicate their life to helping to 
make this great democratic institution function.
  I'm reminded of something that Lyndon Johnson said years ago. He said 
when he came to Washington, he discovered that the definition of an 
expert on Social Security--which was a big issue, and still is--was 
someone who knew Wilbur Cohen's telephone number, because Wilbur Cohen 
was the guy who actually understood the program and could answer any 
question about it.

                              {time}  1940

  And I think the definition of an expert on behavior on the floor of 
the House of Representatives and how to handle debate and amendments 
and all that is someone who knows Jay Pierson's telephone number or 
where he is or can reach him. He's helped me on numerous occasions 
managing various amendments and bills, and that's true of every Member 
of this House.
  Jay, I appreciate you and your service, and I wish you very many 
years of success to come.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, it's my great pleasure to yield to the 
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton), the chairman of the Commerce 
  Mr. UPTON. Thank you so much. And I rise with so many to honor a 
really good friend, Jay Pierson.
  Years ago I came to this Capitol Hill as a congressional aide. I had 
the pleasure of working as a legislative aide at the White House, and 
then I headed Congressional Affairs at the Office of Management and 
Budget. And my job was what's going on; make sure my boss, the 
President of the United States, in essence, knew what was going on. 
That meant I had to have a direct line right here.
  And this was before C-SPAN. You couldn't turn on the TV and watch 
what's going on. Sorry.
  And by the way, Mr. Petri, there are 30 million people watching 
tonight as they let us honor Jay Pierson. But you had to know what's 
going on, and Jay was my contact. He was my link. He would let me know 
what was going on.
  I have to say that when I probably surprised a few people and became 
a Member and actually had a voting card here, he still had my back. He 
really did. And there's probably not a week, probably not a week 
certainly when we've been in session, but even when we've been out of 
session, that I haven't called his office to find out what's going on 
and be able to share with my colleagues and really do the people's 
  We've had a great relationship, we really have. And just like he had 
my back, he had the back of every Member in this institution. He taught 
us the rules and the procedures, time on amendments, how to get things 
  When we took over the majority and actually had to run the Speaker's 
chair, he knew the rules then and walked us and guided us through those 
procedures. And frankly, he did it the way that our Founding Fathers 
wanted it to be done.
  On our side of the aisle, he really followed folks who loved this 
institution, who really knew its rules, people like Billy Pitts and Ron 
Lasch and Jim Oliver and J.L. Cullen, and Peggy and Tim, who are here 
tonight. They care about not only the institution, but the people on 
both sides of the aisle to make sure that this place runs the way that 
it should.

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  On Tuesday, December 18, 2012 on H6858 the following appeared: 
On our side of the aisle, he really followed folks who loved this 
institution, who really knew its rules, people like Billy Pitts 
and Ron Lasch and Jim Oliver and Joelle Cullen, and Peggy and Tim, 
who are here tonight. They care about not only the institution, 
but the people on both sides of the aisle to make sure that this 
place runs the way that it should.
  The online version should be corrected to read: On our side of 
the aisle, he really followed folks who loved this institution, 
who really knew its rules, people like Billy Pitts and Ron Lasch 
and Jim Oliver and J.L.Cullen, and Peggy and Tim, who are here 
tonight. They care about not only the institution, but the people 
on both sides of the aisle to make sure that this place runs the 
way that it should.

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  There's an old saying, ``It's nice to be important, but it's more 
important to be nice.'' Jay, you're both. You really are. You care 
about the people's House, the U.S. House of Representatives, and we are 
so grateful for your decades of service.
  And yes, Jay, you look just the same.
  God bless.
  Mr. WOODALL. I very much thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time it's my great pleasure to yield to the new 
secretary of the Republican Conference, the gentlewoman from North 
Carolina (Ms. Foxx).
  Ms. FOXX. I thank my colleague from Georgia for yielding time and 
giving me the opportunity to pay a very small tribute to Jay Pierson.
  Mr. Speaker, it's with mixed emotions that I rise to join my 
colleagues in recognizing Jay Pierson, who's served the House of 
Representatives with dedication and vigor, vigor for the better part of 
35 years.
  Jay Pierson is practically an institution in and of himself. Members, 
staffers, former pages and multiple speakers of the House know Jay by 
name and are in awe of the breadth of his devotion to this body and to 
the people it represents.
  The stressful and often thankless duties of a leadership floor team 
are difficult, at best, for mere mortals. That Jay has managed the task 
for decades with such professionalism and kindness is truly laudable 
and a testament to him as a person.
  For Members and legislative staff trying to make sense of House rules 
and procedures, Jay is a lifeline. He's helped me on numerous 
occasions, and I'll always be grateful for his wisdom and willingness 
to help Members.
  Regardless of the challenges or niche details propelling a 
legislative cause, Jay can be counted on to know the ins and outs and 
apply both his encyclopedic knowledge and unmatched institutional 
expertise for the good of this body.
  Whenever the House is gaveled in, Jay can be seen buzzing around the 
floor putting out fires before they start and doing more than his part 
to keep the trains running on time. And even when action on the floor 
of the House is slowed by the glacial pace of our Senate friends, Jay 
is still on duty, though in down moments he may stop occasionally to 
trade gardening tips with me and any other green thumbs who may be on 
the floor, or give us advice on the best books to be reading.
  At the conclusion of this Congress, the House of Representatives will 
be saying goodbye to Jay Pierson as he moves on to the next chapter of 
service in his life.
  Indeed, when he told me he was retiring, my response was, Jay, you're 
too young and you have too much energy. And while we're sad to lose him 
and will certainly notice his absence on the floor, we recognize the 
length of Jay's investment.
  As a body, we cannot adequately express our thanks for the years of 
contributions Jay has made to the House of Representatives. But as an 
individual Member who's been well served by Jay's hard work and 
consistency, I would like to thank him.
  And to the entire Pierson family, I would like to extend my best 
wishes for what the future holds.
  Mr. Speaker, Jay Pierson's contributions to this body and to our 
country will not soon be forgotten.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentlelady for her words.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time it's my great pleasure to yield to the 
gentlelady from Florida, Chairwoman Ros-Lehtinen.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you so much. And I thank the gentleman for 
arranging this for us.
  And I also rise to commemorate the 34 years of Jay Pierson's career 
as a member of the Republican cloakroom, the Republican floor staff, 
the Speaker's Office. He's held many positions.
  But the 113th Congress, Mr. Speaker, will suffer due to his 
retirement, and Members on both sides of the aisle will certainly feel 
his absence.

[[Page H6859]]

  By the time I came to the U.S. House of Representatives, Jay was 
already a seasoned veteran of the archaic world of House parliamentary 
procedures. To this day, never far from Jay's side is his Jefferson's 
Manual of Rules, with its well-marked pages and notes written in the 
  His historical expertise and institutional knowledge will not easily 
be replicated. Precious few know this House better, and what we are 
losing is substantial.
  But Jay is far more than just a fountain of institutional knowledge; 
he is a familiar and comforting figure here on the floor, even though 
many of us still don't recognize him without his iconic mustache. I 
still see it in his face, John Bolton style.
  But Jay is renowned for his personable nature, for his grace, for his 
patience, for his helpful nature. Jay's energy and vitality are hard to 
match, as is his deep love of classical music that is always coming 
from his office.
  I consider myself incredibly fortunate for having had the privilege 
of working with Jay Pierson over these many years. And I thank you, 
Jay, for your service, but most especially, for your friendship. You 
are a true professional, and your shoes will be hard to fill.
  And not only do I no longer leave my papers on our chairs because I 
have grown to admire your fastidious nature, but I now find myself 
chastising other Members who absentmindedly leave papers behind. So you 
taught me well, Jay. You taught us all well.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairwoman. I could see Mr. Pierson reaching 
out for his beloved Jefferson Manual as she was going through those 
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, it's my great pleasure to yield to the 
gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the chairman of the Financial 
Services Committee.
  Mr. BACHUS. I thank the gentleman from Georgia.
  Someone has said that Congress is a place where, when someone gets up 
to speak, no one listens, but then everyone disagrees.
  Well, there was one person that had to listen, had to listen the 
entire time, and that was Jay Pierson. He was selected by three 
different speakers--Speaker Gingrich, Speaker Hastert, and Speaker 
Boehner--to have what was really an awesome obligation. He is truly a 
man behind the scenes.

                              {time}  1950

  As chairman and ranking member of the Financial Services Committee 
for the last 8 years, we have brought many pieces of important 
legislation to the floor during the financial meltdown, during the 
flash crash, during other times of financial stress. Our committee is 
known for working in a bipartisan way. But that doesn't work all the 
time. And when I show up and ask for his advice, Jay often says, The 
Financial Services Committee is bringing a bill. Things are fixing to 
get messy. Let me say this. Jay, because you were here, things didn't 
get as messy as they otherwise would.
  I, along with every Member of this body, have relied on you for your 
advice and your guidance; and I, too, along with every other Member, 
consider you not only a professional, but a friend. So thank you for 
your 34 years of wonderful service.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the chairman, Mr. Speaker.
  At this time it's my great pleasure to yield to a cardinal on the 
Appropriations Committee, my good friend from Georgia (Mr. Kingston).
  Mr. KINGSTON. Thank you, Mr. Woodall. And I certainly join everything 
that has been said about Jay Pierson already, but I'm going to say it 
from my point of view.
  My daughter is in a rock and roll band, and one of her great 
frustrations is trying to get everybody in sync. Well, that's what Jay 
Pierson does here on the House floor. With all these 435 egos and all 
the parts and all the things that go on behind the scenes, he seems to 
be the conductor that gets everything running in a harmonious fashion. 
He's here early. I've never been able to beat him. I don't know what 
time he goes home at night. He stays very, very late.
  Whatever the subject matter is, he seems to be on top of it from a 
legislative and substantive point of view, then from a parliamentary 
point of view. He seems to know what the timing is. He knows the 
history of it. If there's a meltdown, he knows how to get out of it, 
because it seems like he's been there before. He listens to the 
speakers even when no one else seems to be speaking. And 2 or 3 weeks 
later he will say, You remember that speech you made? Is that right? It 
appears that he remembers that. I just have to thank him for his 
professionalism in that manner.
  I have to say this to Mr. Pierson. I want to say this on a very 
personal level. I've been married 33 years. I'm proud to be a Member of 
Congress, but I'm more proud that I've been able to be married 33 years 
and I've raised four kids. Jay, I have to say, you played a part in it. 
Because as a father of four, sometimes the most important thing that 
can take place on the House floor interferes with your most important 
role of being a daddy. And sometimes knowing if you're going to be out 
on Thursday on Friday, will we get out at 2 o'clock so I can catch that 
2:30 flight, will there be a delay, and what votes are coming up, it 
means so much on those small but very important things called birthdays 
and anniversaries and school plays and football games. And, Jay, I can 
tell you, in my 20 years in Congress, my attendance at those things 
hasn't been 100 percent, but it's been a heck of a lot better than it 
would have been without your advice and counsel.
  So on behalf of the Kingston family--my four kids and my wife, 
Libby--we appreciate your friendship and we appreciate the extra value 
added because of your public service to all of our families.
  Thank you. May God bless you and the road that lies ahead for you.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman for his words.
  At this time it's my great pleasure to yield to my friend from Texas 
(Mr. Gohmert).
  Mr. GOHMERT. Thank you, Mr. Woodall.
  I know it's time to honor Jay Pierson, but it's really a sad time for 
me. Over my 8 years, I don't know of anybody I've spent more time with 
all these evenings on the floor. Of course, for the last 2 years, we 
were going until midnight most nights and I was usually here with Jay 
  I know Jay was not a Boy Scout, but as someone who is an Eagle Scout, 
I know that we're taught that the ultimate in life is to be 
trustworthy. I don't know of anybody on Capitol Hill that is more 
trustworthy than Jay Pierson, loyal and yet courteous and kind. Jay 
Pierson has been a true friend. And to have somebody who knows what 
goes on, knows the rules, we can disagree about the rules, but I can 
come to him and know I have the institutional memory right there with 
me. That has been such a huge help, just knowing when I did need 
information, I could call Jay and I would have whatever I needed.
  So, Jay, I know that you're going to be better off without us, but 
we're certainly not going to be better off without Jay Pierson. I also 
know that nobody serves in Congress without loved ones missing and 
suffering because of an absence of time with them. So we know it's kind 
of like when I was in the military: my wife knew well that it's not 
just one person who serves. So as Jay Pierson served all these years in 
Congress, there's no question his wife served as well. We'll be forever 
grateful to her and very thankful for the sacrifice that she's made all 
those nights when Jay would rather have been at home, would rather have 
been with her, and instead he's with some bald-headed goose down at the 
  To Jay Pierson, there's not enough words, not enough times that we 
can say thank you that will cover all that you have done for us. 
Nonetheless, that's the word we come down to: thank you. May God bless 
you for blessing all the rest of us.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time it's my great pleasure to yield to my 
friend from North Carolina (Mr. Jones).
  Mr. JONES. I thank the gentleman from Georgia.
  I came here in 1995 with Newt Gingrich--at that time, the largest 
class, until this last one. I had served in the North Carolina House of 
Representatives for 10 years. I thought I knew a

[[Page H6860]]

little something about Congress, but those first few months that we 
were here we had the Contract with America and we were changing the way 
we did things in Washington and the things we did in this country. I 
got to meet Jay Pierson. Because, quite frankly, I couldn't figure out 
what I was doing up here.
  We would come in and work until 10, 11, 12:00 at night and I would 
see this gentleman with a mustache that seemed to know the leadership, 
whether it was Newt Gingrich or another Speaker, and always seemed to 
have the ear of that Speaker. I couldn't quite figure out who this 
person was.
  So over a period of time, I reached out and we started chatting and 
talked about the different things of what was happening on the floor 
and what Members were doing, especially we freshmen. But what really 
seemed to tie us together was we both played basketball. I didn't go as 
far as Jay did. I think Jay played varsity basketball at his college in 
California. I played a little freshman basketball at NC State. But the 
ACC got us together talking about basketball. You can't always talk 
about policy here on the floor of the House. If you did, you'd go 
crazy. So Jay and I had that little time together to talk about ACC 
basketball. He was always pulling for UCLA, and I was pulling for Duke 
or one of the other colleges.
  Well, one thing that Jay did a few months ago, before I found out he 
was retiring, he actually showed me a photograph of him taking a jump 
shot. And it's pretty good form, I must say. And I was about the same 
age, a little bit older. In college, he wore the knee socks. It was a 
pretty fancy uniform at those times.
  But, Jay, I appreciate the friendship that I think you've extended 
not only to me but to so many Members on the Democratic side as well as 
the Republican side. As Louie said just a moment ago, it's going to be 
a sad day when we come back in January and there's no Jay Pierson. I 
know that for you and your wife, JoAnne, it's time that you all decided 
that you wanted to do some other things than to be stuck here late at 
night so many times during a session. But I can say that you will 
sorely be missed. I don't think you can really be replaced. I say that 
from the bottom of my heart. Oh, yes, we can all be replaced. There's 
no question about it. But when it comes down to it, you are a man that 
has patience and that shows the ability to listen and to try to guide 
Members of Congress, whether they be freshman or senior Members.

                              {time}  2000

  We will miss you sorely, as I just stated, but you will never be 
forgotten by those of us who have had the privilege to serve with you.
  I hope and I pray that God will give you and your wife many, many 
more years of life and enjoyment because you have certainly earned it, 
because you have served not only the United States House of 
Representatives, but you have served us, you have served the people of 
our district, as well as helping us be better Members of Congress.
  So with that, I will close by asking God to please bless you and your 
family, and may God continue to bless the House of Representatives. Jay 
Pierson, you will be in our hearts until the day we die. God bless you.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman for his words.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time it's my great pleasure to yield to the 
gentleman from California, the chairman of the Ways and Means Health 
Subcommittee, Mr. Herger.
  Mr. HERGER. I thank my good friend.
  How wonderful it is to be able to sit here and listen to all these 
incredibly warm remarks from people who, like myself, know and love Jay 
Pierson. And there's a reason for that. Jay, you're one of the best of 
the best.
  It's hard to believe that 26 years comes and goes so very, very 
quickly, but it was 26 years ago when I first came here. Of course you 
come here and you're excited and you've come here with a dream because 
of our great country and to preserve our Constitution, but boy, there's 
a lot to learn. There's a lot of hallways to figure out. There's a lot 
of procedures to try to figure out how to work our way through. Jay, 
you were always there. You were there, for a guy like myself, that I 
could come up to on the QT. It seems like we were always someplace 
where we just asked Jay: What do we do with this? When are we voting 
next? What is this vote on? What are the procedures coming up next? No 
matter what the question, Jay Pierson had the correct answer in a way 
that even a freshman or one that was new learning could understand.
  Of course, also, we have something else in common, the Pacific Ocean, 
California, another Californian like myself.
  But Jay, you have been such a friend, not just to my colleagues, but 
to me. That says a lot about you. There isn't any way to express our 
appreciation to you enough but to say thank you, thank you, thank you. 
You have made my tenure here so much more successful and enjoyable 
because I had someone there, kind of a shining star up there. If I 
wasn't quite sure how to navigate my way around this floor, I could 
always go to Jay. You knew what was coming up next, when it was coming 
up, an estimate of when we were going to vote the next time, so on and 
so forth. So, Jay, thank you. Thank you for being a friend.
  I'm sure each of us felt the same way I did. It was like, Gee, I 
think I'm Jay's best friend. I think every one of us felt that way 
because, indeed, Jay, that's how you did treat each of us because 
that's the way you are. So, Jay, thank you.
  It's interesting. When we were both talking, I mentioned that I was 
retiring; you were letting me know you're retiring at the same time.
  Well, anyway, best of luck to you. Thank you for serving this great 
Nation of ours in the way that you have. Thank you for assisting people 
like myself--and there has been hundreds, many hundreds of us whom 
you've assisted over the years--I should put that into perhaps the 
thousands. We will be eternally grateful. Good luck to you. God bless 
you. God bless your family.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman from California.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, it's my great pleasure to yield to my 
friend from Alabama (Mr. Aderholt).
  Mr. ADERHOLT. I want to thank the gentleman from Georgia for the 
  Mr. Speaker, I'd also like to rise this evening to pay tribute to one 
of our colleagues who's played a critical role--as has been said here 
tonight, a behind-the-scenes role--here in the House of Representatives 
for many years, of course, the man, Jay Pierson.
  As it's been noted here tonight, Jay has been a floor assistant to 
the top Republicans here in the House since '86, serving Republican 
Leader Bob Michel, Newt Gingrich, Speaker Hastert, current Speaker John 
Boehner, and even prior to that, of course, worked as floor assistant 
to the Journal Clerk for Republican Leader John Rhodes and assistant 
manager for the Republican Cloakroom. His experience has really been 
invaluable to all of us that serve here in the House of 
  Jay is known for his vast knowledge of the rules, for his vast 
knowledge of the traditions and history and the procedures of the House 
of Representatives. He has been a teacher and a coach to so many 
Members of Congress over the years, and we are grateful to the 
dedication that he has given this institution over the past 34 years.
  Jay was born in Santa Barbara, California, and of course graduated 
from Westmont College. Most don't realize that Jay has a master's 
degree and a Ph.D in English literature from California State 
University and University of Maryland, respectively. He and his wife, 
JoAnne, have two grown sons, Joel and Jeff. But Jay is also a man of 
faith, and he is a man who has his priorities in the right place.
  Several years ago, he told his college alumni magazine that politics 
must be secondary to faith and to life. Ultimate answers don't lie in 
politics. No matter what we do or legislate, we won't solve all the 
problems. The issues are incredibly complex. Jay is someone who 
understands the importance of the legislative process; however, he also 
realizes that the ultimate answers are not found here.
  Jay and JoAnne have been active members in their church, and that's 
where I've gotten to know both him and JoAnne even better over the 
years. I have found Jay to be, as mentioned

[[Page H6861]]

here by several Members here tonight, as the go-to guy when it comes to 
floor operations here in the House of Representatives. He is someone 
who is dependable and someone that, if he doesn't know the answer, can 
point you in the right direction where you can find the answer.
  Thirty-four years is a long time to work in one institution, but I 
think his commitment to that 34 years tells you about his commitment in 
general and his dedication in general. All of us here in the House will 
miss Jay, but having worked in this place for over 34 years, I hope 
that he will be back to visit quite often.
  So, Mr. Speaker, we wish Jay Pierson all the best in the next chapter 
of his life.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman for his words about Dr. Jay 
  At this time, it's my great pleasure, Mr. Speaker, to yield to the 
gentlelady from Illinois (Mrs. Biggert), a distinguished public 
  Mrs. BIGGERT. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute one of the hardest working and 
longest serving staff members in Congress, Jay Pierson.
  More than any other, Jay's is the face that I associate with the 
House floor. He is the man who keeps the debate moving, who tells us 
where to go and when to vote, and teaches new Members the rules of the 
  No one knows the procedures of the House better. He has kept the 
clockwork of the American democracy ticking ahead with the precision of 
a symphony conductor, and he has done it all with a steady, patient 
grace that has earned him the friendship and respect of everyone on 
this floor.
  I know everyone who works on or watches the House floor will miss 
Jay's daily presence. He is an institution and a source of procedural 
wisdom that few, if any, could hope to match. I'm honored to have 
served alongside of him and thankful for all the time that he has 
helped me to make it to the floor on time, catch the votes, deliver a 
speech, or just know when the gavel is coming down.
  Like me, Jay is probably looking forward to spending some quality 
time with his family and away from the daily grind of the legislative 
business, and I wish him a long and happy retirement.
  Finally, Mr. Speaker, I'd just like to thank him for his long service 
and for being a reliable friend behind the scenes to so many Members of 
the House.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentlelady.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, it's my great pleasure to yield to a 
friend and mentor, the gentleman from the great State of Georgia, Dr. 
Tom Price.
  Mr. PRICE of Georgia. I thank my colleague from Georgia for the time 
as well as organizing this, and I rise to join my colleagues in their 
praise of Jay Pierson.
  What a great guy--thoughtful, knowledgeable, calm, respectful, 
resourceful. Whenever anyone needs anything to make this House run 
better, Jay is there.

                              {time}  2010

  We are all so incredibly fortunate to have worked alongside Jay 
Pierson, a man whose commitment to our country is unquestioned. And as 
he starts on a new journey and chapter in his life, we thank Jay for 
his integrity and his commitment to serving this House and our Nation.
  May your days be filled with joy and with accomplishment. 
Congratulations on your retirement, and God bless you.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank my friend from Georgia.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, it's my great pleasure to yield to a 
colleague on the Rules Committee, the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Bishop).
  Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Thank you, the gentleman from Georgia. It's my 
pleasure to be here as part of this tribute to Jay Pierson and 
everything that he has done.
  I met Jay Pierson the first day I was in the session when there were 
about three of us who came on to the floor and sat over I think where 
the staffers are sitting right now, just to watch what was taking place 
on the floor. Jay came over to us and said, if you all want to speak, 
you've got about 7 minutes left. I was shocked at that time to imagine 
that somebody would actually come on the floor and speak without any 
preparation or without knowing the complete details of any of the bills 
we're debating on the floor. I have learned much since that time, and 
much of what I have learned is by watching Jay's protection of this 
institution, this floor, the procedures, the protocols and the order 
that we have.
  He also helped me out individually by introducing me to Chesterton 
and giving me a couple of books by him that I had the opportunity of 
reading. I hope I have given most of them back by now. But in addition 
to that, his book on orthodoxy, he once wrote:
  Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our 
ancestors. There are many who object to being disqualified by accident 
of birth. Tradition objects to their being disqualified by accident of 
  The ideas that we have here are those that keep us going as a group. 
He also wrote in that same book that if you free a camel from its hump, 
he is no longer a camel. I am not saying that Jay Pierson is a hump, 
but my fear is that once this institution is free of Jay Pierson, we 
may not necessarily be the same institution that we were before.
  I want to give my appreciation for everything that you have done for 
the House and for this country, and I want you to know that I am taking 
you up on the offer to go through this building and learn some of the 
history that you know and I need to learn. Thank you, and God bless.
  Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time, it's my pleasure to yield to a friend and 
colleague, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King).
  Mr. KING of Iowa. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for yielding and 
for leading this Special Order to honor Jay Pierson. I'm sitting here, 
I'm glad I've had an opportunity to listen to the other Members talk 
about Jay Pierson's service to this Congress and this country, and I'm 
wondering how do I make sense of this?
  Thirty-four years. Well, Mr. Speaker, 34 years ago, there was a lady 
that opened up a convenience store in my little old town of Kiron, 
Iowa. She began accumulating knowledge about the community and what 
went on around that community. And if you want to know who ran for 
mayor in '78 or when the place burned down down the street or why there 
isn't a parking meter or a stoplight in the town, you can ask her, and 
she'll know. If you want to know contemporary actions, who's working in 
what field, she'll know.
  It's the same thing here. There's one person that knows the organism 
of the House of Representatives, that understands it intuitively, that 
knows the history, has lived it, and it's one thing to catch up with 
things intellectually, Mr. Speaker, but it's another thing to feel it 
in your instinct and in your bones and in your guts. Jay Pierson's got 
all of that.
  On top of that, he's had to listen to me as much as anybody over the 
last 10 years, and for that I do come to the floor to apologize, Jay, 
for putting you through that long, grueling night all the way up to 
midnight night after night after night. But I couldn't have done that 
without your excellent help.
  Mr. Speaker, actually Jay would correct me and say I need to address 
you, Mr. Speaker. I couldn't have done it without Jay Pierson's 
excellent help. And I don't know that he has memorized every cell phone 
number of every Member of the House of Representatives, I just know 
he's memorized mine. And I know, Mr. Speaker, that when I'm off doing 
some of those things, as Jack Kingston said, family events and 
whatever, not only does Jay know what's said on the floor, not only 
does he know about the procedures, the amendment, the rules and the 
history of how we got to this place, but he understands the rhythm of 
the place, and he listens to all the words.
  On top of that, he's got the voice inflections down where, Mr. 
Speaker, he knows when a speaker is winding down, when he's about ready 
to finish up and it's time to hustle to the floor before the gavel 
falls. He might also let you know, I think this person is going to go 
on quite a while, so take a deep breath, and there will be time. And 
he'll tell you just when. And you'd better listen,

[[Page H6862]]

Mr. Speaker. When I thought I could push those limits a little bit, I 
got here a little late. When I listened exactly to Jay Pierson, I got 
here with just the right amount the time.
  That's an example in my little tenure here in these 10 years of how 
all of these Members of Congress have benefited so much from 34 years 
of accumulated knowledge--irreplaceable knowledge, irreplaceable 
service, irreplaceable spirit here--and I congratulate, Mr. Speaker, 
Jay Pierson for that 34-year career here in the House of 
Representatives, the impression he's made on all of us and his great 
respect for this institution of the United States America.
  God bless you, Jay, and Godspeed.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Iowa.
  At this time, it's my privilege to yield to the gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. Olson).
  Mr. OLSON. I want to thank my colleague from Georgia for taking a 
leadership role and hosting this Special Order to thank our friend, Jay 
Pierson, for 34 years of service to the House.
  In a prior life, I was a United States naval aviator. In that job, I 
needed a wingman, someone who is right behind you protecting you from 
threats you can't see. A wingman is always checking your ``six,'' the 
spot directly behind. His job is not about him, it's about making sure 
I complete my mission.
  For the 4 years I've been in Congress, my wingman on the floor has 
been Jay Pierson. It started out with simple jobs, like showing me 
where the restrooms were. It grew to much more important jobs, like 
advising me on floor procedure and giving me accurate information about 
the floor schedule so my wife and kids would know when Daddy was coming 
  I realized what a great wingman Jay was about 2 weeks ago. I stood 
right here on this floor paying tribute to a fellow Texan, Ralph Hall. 
I was flying solo without my wingman, Jay Pierson. I had this poster 
with me, and six others, notice the yellow post-it note on it that said 
``Olson.'' Every poster I had has a yellow post-it on it that said 
``Olson.'' Without my wingman, I took off with a flawed presentation. I 
didn't crash and burn over the post-it notes, but I got some flack from 
my staff for my ineptitude.
  In 2013, I'll be flying solo without Jay. I'll miss my wingman. But 
I'm thankful for the 4 years I've had with him.
  As we say in the Navy, Jay, Bravo Zulu, well done. May you and your 
family have fair winds and following seas.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, at this time, it's my great pleasure to 
yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson).
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. I want to thank the gentleman from 
Georgia for hosting this hour and an opportunity to recognize and thank 
a good friend, Jay Pierson, who started his work in the U.S. House of 
Representatives in 1978 in the Office of the Journal Clerk under then-
Majority Leader John Rhodes, where he learned the intricacies of the 
House and legislative procedures while keeping official minutes in this 
  In 1979, he began working in the Republican Cloakroom, where he 
remained for 7 years before beginning a new position as floor assistant 
to the Republican Leader in 1986. Since then, Jay has served, as many 
have said, as floor assistant to three Speakers of the House, including 
Newt Gingrich, Denny Hastert and the current Speaker, John Boehner.
  In a career that has spanned almost 35 years, Jay has served an 
invaluable role for so many Members in helping them to learn the ways 
of the U.S. House of Representatives, and I'm proud to be among those 
who have benefited from Jay's service and friendship and his 
  But Jay isn't just known for his expertise in parliamentary 
procedure. Jay is known to be an individual of substance and distinct 
professionalism. In fact, I personally would say he is the embodiment 
of a professional, which is why he is respected by Members on both 
sides of the aisle.
  You wouldn't know it if you saw him in action, but Jay never expected 
to work in politics. He earned a B.A. in English literature from 
Westmont College, an M.A. in English literature from California State 
University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. But life works 
in mysterious ways. Regardless, the U.S. House of Representatives has 
been blessed to have such a talented professional to help guide this 
  Thank you, Jay Pierson, for your life of service to the U.S. 
Congress. This body and all of its Members wish you well in your 

                              {time}  2020

                             General Leave

  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I know there are so many Members who could 
not be here tonight and wanted to be here. So I'd like to ask unanimous 
consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise 
and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject 
of this Special Order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Georgia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, so often in this town, they say, Everything 
has been said, but not everyone has said it. That's not the case here 
with Member after Member after Member talking about Dr. Jay Pierson. 
The gentleman from California had it right: everybody on this floor 
thinks they're Jay's best friend; everybody on this floor feels that 
personal relationship and that personal bond; yet everyone who has come 
to the floor tonight has taught me something new about Jay that I did 
not know.
  When I first came to this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, just 2 years ago, I 
was a little nervous. It's an intimidating job to walk out on the House 
floor for the very first time. And my mentor and friend, former-
Congressman John Linder, came to me and he said, Rob, if you get 
worried, if you get into trouble, don't worry. Jay will be there.
  I think about how in one way or another, over 34 years, how many 
young, frightened, yet enthusiastic, public servants have been 
comforted with those words: Don't worry. If you get into trouble, Jay 
Pierson will be there. This new incoming freshman class is going to 
miss those comforting words, and this incoming freshman class, along 
with 435 of the rest of us, are going to miss Jay Pierson.
  I want to thank Dr. Pierson, Mr. Speaker, for his long, diligent, but 
most importantly, cheerful service that is an example that we could all 
learn from, and I hope that we do.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in paying 
tribute to Jay Pierson, who is retiring after nearly 35 years of 
service to this institution.
  What sets the people's House apart is its people--the dedicated staff 
members who give so much of their time and energy, and how they, too, 
reflect the diversity of this body. For instance, a PhD in English 
Literature who enjoys classical music may make for an unlikely fixture 
amid all the commotion on the House floor. But Jay Pierson has been 
patrolling these aisles like a natural for the better part of three 
decades, dating back to Bob Michel's days as Republican Leader.
  As a floor assistant, Jay's primary responsibility is to make sure he 
can answer just about any question members may have about a particular 
bill or vote. When you think about all the business before this body, 
that is a tall task, and one Jay fulfills with grace, precision, and 
much-appreciated brevity. Each of us would like to think we have all 
the answers, but Jay actually does, and so seeking out his counsel has 
become second nature.
  While the floor may sometimes die down, Jay's day never does. He has 
to keep track of papers, call committee staff to get them to the floor, 
track amendments, retrieve statements, assist members who are trying to 
request a vote or get the attention of the chair--Jay does it all. His 
work is the percussion of the people's House--that steady drumbeat of 
activity that keeps everyone together and on course.
  The House owes a great debt of gratitude to Jay, and to his lovely 
wife of 43 years, JoAnn. Not only has she shared Jay with us through 
all the late nights and long sessions, but it was JoAnn who actually 
introduced this future English professor to Capitol Hill.
  While this may not have been Jay's original calling, his record of 
service to the House is a testament to that most common bond among us: 
the call to serve Jay is a man of faith, an active member of his 
  When asked about his job, here's what Jay said:

[[Page H6863]]

       Most of us are called to be in secular jobs where our 
     performance is part of our witness. Instead of looking for a 
     career in a specifically Christian field, graduates should 
     look for careers which suit their individual talents and 
     desires. Witness of God's work in their lives will come with 
     a job well done.

  Jay has certainly done his job well, and served this House nobly. I 
thank him for his service., and wish him and his family all the best.