(House of Representatives - April 17, 2013)

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[Page H2072]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              {time}  1030

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New 
Jersey (Mr. Holt) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, for centuries, we have lauded the achievements 
of great entrepreneurs, whether the automobile industry of Henry Ford 
or the iPhone of Steve Jobs. Business was the province of people with 
money. As the old cynical joke goes, banks would loan money only to 
people who don't need it.
  So throughout the world, and especially in the post-colonial 
developing world, the chance of escaping poverty and living a dignified 
life seemed an impossible dream for millions and millions. One person 
has helped transform the dream into a possibility--in fact, a reality--
of family sufficiency for people all over the planet.
  When the Nobel Committee awarded Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the financial 
institution he created, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the Nobel Peace 
Prize a few years back, the Committee made the award for ``their 
efforts to create economic and social development from below.'' I'll 
phrase it differently. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank received the 
award for treating people with dignity and giving millions around the 
world hope.
  Today, in the rotunda here at the U.S. Capitol, we honor Dr. Yunus 
with the Congressional Gold Medal. Muhammad Yunus has shown us being a 
visionary does not mean promoting the impractical or the impossible. 
Unlike some economic theories advanced over centuries, Dr. Yunus' 
theories have been proven to work. To date, the Grameen Foundation and 
the bank and its partners have helped 9.4 million of the world's 
poorest people receive microloans. The bank has given loans of a few 
dollars to millions to those who, by traditional standards, are not 
worthy of credit.
  His idea of a socially conscious business focused on serving the poor 
flew in the face of conventional economic theory and certainly in the 
face of existing banking practice. But it worked. Recipients paid back 
the loans and got ahead financially.
  The Grameen Foundation's financial outreach to people living below 
the poverty level has been life-altering for women in Nigeria and Haiti 
and Cambodia and Peru. Dr. Yunus has inspired similar local efforts in 
dozens of nations, including our own. His life and work are a testament 
to the difference a single person can make here on Earth.
  Dr. Yunus' legacy will be measured not simply by the many awards he 
has won over his career, such as we honor him with today, but by the 
current and future generations of people who will travel the road from 
poverty to success and sufficiency because of Dr. Yunus' vision and 
commitment. He believes that we have the power to end poverty--not just 
to alleviate it, but end it--and we should take him seriously. Muhammad 
Yunus is showing us how.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in giving Dr. Yunus congratulations on 
receiving the Congressional Gold Medal today, and join me in giving 
thanks to him for making many, many lives around the world better.