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Pelosi Floor Speech Marking the 40th Anniversary of C-SPAN  

March 26, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network [C-SPAN].  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Madam Speaker, our Founders envisioned a People’s House –

Speaker Pro Tempore.  The House will be in order.

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Lewis.  This is very important.  We’re going to observe the 40th anniversary of C-SPAN.  You ready for that?  Are you braced for the excitement of it all?  If that’s not enough for you, today is my birthday.

[Laughter]

No, no, no, no singing.  No singing.

[Singing ‘Happy Birthday’]

Thank you so much and I will convey those good wishes to C-SPAN as well.  Madam Speaker, our Founders envisioned a People’s House that would be transparent and accountable to the American people.  The very first House sessions were made open to the public – the very first House sessions – so that the American people could see our debates and have their voices heard.

I rise to honor an institution that powerfully honors that legacy, ensuring that our sessions can be a town hall for the nation: the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network, C-SPAN.  Since its founding 40 years ago, C-SPAN has offered tens of millions of Americans a front row seat to democracy, training its unblinking eye on Congress and the campaign trail, presidents and parliaments, and so much more.

We all know C-SPAN is a pillar for public discourse and a beacon of unbiased reporting, an institution so committed to objectivity and impartiality that its founder never once uttered his own name on the air throughout 33 years of interviews, roundtables and lectures.  Thank you, Brian Lamb, for your service to our democracy.

[Applause]

C-SPAN has not only exposed our public debate, it has enhanced our discourse and, in doing so, enriched our democracy: shining a light on government to keep our leaders honest and accountable, educating and informing the public through gavel-to-gavel coverage, book TV, American History TV, C-SPAN radio, the video library and interactive resources such as the C-SPAN bus.  Let’s hear it for the C-SPAN bus.

[Applause]

And renewing the promise and purpose of our American democracy, a government of, by, and for the people.

In its first speech – in the first speech, this is the first speech ever televised by C-SPAN, our former colleague, then-Representative Al Gore, spoke prescient words about its power.  Al Gore said, ‘The marriage of this medium and our open debate have potential to revitalize representative democracy,’ offering ‘a solution for the lack of confidence in government.’

Our country has been strengthened by C-SPAN’s progress to deliver on that promise: revitalizing our democracy so that people can have confidence that this institution works for the public interest.

On behalf of the House of Representatives – well, I did want to tell you some C-SPAN stories about what children have said about what they have seen when they have watched Congress in session, but I’ll save that for another day.

On behalf of the House of Representatives, thank you to founder Brian Lamb and the entire C-SPAN family for your enduring contributions to the public debate and to our American democracy.

Congratulations on 40 years.

[Applause]

Madam Speaker, I’m pleased to yield to the distinguished leader Mr. McCarthy.