WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) joined President George W. Bush and the Members of the Congressional Leadership in presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Norman E. Borlaug today. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"Mr. President, Madam Speaker, assembled Members of Congress and dignitaries, and family and friends of our Congressional Gold Medal recipient, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug:
"There is a reason that the Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded only 139 times in our nation's 231-year history. And, that is because our highest civilian honor is reserved for those whose contributions to our nation and humanity embody the very best qualities in America's heritage.
"Without question, Dr. Borlaug, your life and your life's work - increasing agricultural production and thereby saving more than one billion people from famine and starvation - are an inspiration to this and future generations.
"Time Magazine has called you 'one of the world's greatest scientists and thinkers of the 20th century.'
"And, Former President Carter, who is recognized and respected for his own commitment to human rights, calls you a 'true humanitarian' who has demonstrated 'practical ways to give people of the entire world a higher quality of life.'
"In the brief time I have today, I would like to say just a few words about what Dr. Borlaug's work means to those of us on Capitol Hill.
"As we gather here today - to honor a man who has achieved so much for so many - we maintain our faith that the next Dr. Borlaug is out there . . . dreaming and working on a cure for cancer, a formula for energy independence, a solution to global warming, or an answer to one of the many pressing problems facing humanity.
"When we think of the success with which Dr. Borlaug has tackled world hunger, we continue to believe that the next world-changing innovation is within our grasp, as long as we commit ourselves - as leaders, as Americans, as human beings - to the pursuit of discoveries that will give hope to millions and lay the foundation for a more sustainable future.
"Dr. Borlaug, your life's work is a testament to your hard work, intelligence and compassion. But it also is an inspiration and encouragement to those who seek to make that next important discovery.
"Thank you, Dr. Borlaug, for feeding the imaginations of those who believe they can make our world a better place through science - and for giving each of us one billion reasons to try.
"Christ fed the multitudes, and we called it a miracle.
"Dr. Borlaug has fed a billion, and we call it science.
"The miracle, of course, is Dr. Borlaug had the vision and the ability to realize it.
"Congratulations again on receiving this well-deserved award."