Mr. FLAKE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, it's a bittersweet honor to take the podium during this altogether appropriate recognition of House Parliamentarian John Sullivan upon his retirement. I recognize it as bittersweet because it's truly sad for me--and all of us--to see him go, but I'm sure he will enjoy the break from all of us.
I'm certain that tonight we'll hear--and we have already heard--his praises sung, particularly for his esteemed career that spanned some two-and-a-half decades. We saw him rise from counsel to assistant, to deputy, to finally the full-fledged Parliamentarian of this special institution.
I venture to say that few Members or offices outside the Office of the Rules Committee are able to sing his praises having had quite as much experience as my office has had with him. According to a cursory review, it would appear that during Mr. Sullivan's tenure heading up the left side of the Speaker's dais, I've brought to the floor somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple hundred amendments and privileged resolutions and have filed countless more with the Rules Committee. So it is with some experience that I say that both I and my staff have found the Office of the Parliamentarian, under Mr. Sullivan's leadership, to be fair and open, responsive, deliberative, and consistent. In fact, we've come to rely on it.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that what I most admire about John is his irrepressible respect for the House of Representatives as an institution. Partisan politics, heated rhetoric, games of gotcha, finger-pointing and -wagging are as common around here as, well, as common as Flake amendments.
Whether vetting germaneness issues with a provision or two, or being given a few pointers about surviving on a desert island somewhere, I have darkened the door of John's office more than a few times. I can tell you this: when you spend time with John Sullivan, it's easy for your thoughts to turn to the genius of the Founding Fathers, the intention of the Framers of the Constitution, and the beacon of freedom and democracy that the Congress represents. The veneration of this institution just rubs off when you spend any time with John Sullivan.
As James Madison noted in the Federalist Papers: ``Stability in government is essential to national character.'' I can think of no higher compliment to pay John than to say his stable influence in this Chamber has been a credit to our national character.
As a Member of Congress, I thank him both for his service and for ensuring that the House will be more than ably served by those who assume the same responsibility. As a friend, I wish him the best in his next adventure. May it involve a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific.