WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a news conference today in advance of next week’s 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to announce that the House has made modifications to the Speaker’s Rostrum to enable Congressman Langevin – and all future Members in wheelchairs – to preside over the House as Speaker Pro Tempore. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Twenty years ago on Monday, the Americans with Disabilities Act strongly committed our country to inclusion and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. It was a landmark piece of legislation, and its effects have been widely felt.
“50 million Americans have taken advantage of the ADA to succeed in the workplace or at school, or to use so many of the public spaces that many of us take for granted. It was a great bipartisan accomplishment, and I was proud to have helped make it happen.
“But the ADA’s mission isn’t complete yet. We returned to its original intent by passing the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, and it’s up to us to make sure that we live up to its principles and apply them to changing times – whether that means adjusting to new technologies, or helping businesses tap the great resource of talent in Americans with disabilities.
“It also means continually working to make sure that our public spaces meet the highest standards of accessibility. That goes for Congress, too. In fact, today Congress is announcing a major step to improve accessibility, honor the legacy of the ADA, and honor Americans with disabilities.
“There is no other Member in the House who better understands the need to commit ourselves to this cause than Congressman Langevin. For years, Congressman Langevin has been deprived of the chance to do a job that’s open to each and every other member of the Majority Party: presiding over the House Floor as Speaker Pro Tempore. On the 20th anniversary of the ADA, we will remedy that. I want to congratulate Congressman Langevin on this accomplishment and honor his hard work.”