May 14, 1981

Nancy and I are delighted to have you here this evening and particularly delighted because of the occasion that this marks. Not too long ago we had a slightly bigger crowd -- I guess the other House has more Members than you -- in hailing the House's passage of the economic program. And I'm not going to try to get into any jokes or anything about the two Houses. I did that once when I was Governor.

We were having the prayer breakfast, and there was a part of the prayer breakfast that was a little less sacred and a little more informal than most. And a senator -- our lower house in California is called the Assembly -- and a senator asked me something that he might be able to say a little lighthearted about the other House. And it being a prayer breakfast, I referred him to the scriptures -- the verse that says, ``. . . the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were brought [come] together.'' [Laughter] They used this to the delight of all the senators. And the speaker of the Assembly stood up, and he too had referred to the scriptures -- to that portion which reveals that Pontius Pilate was a senator. [Laughter]

But anyway, I want to thank you very much for not only what you did with regard to the legislation which we have been pushing but for something else on a bigger scale that you did, I think, for all the people of this country. I think a certain faith was restored for a lot of people in our institutions of government. And with this evidence that when the events justified, the people came ahead of partisanship, and I hope it is something that we can continue in the years ahead. I know we're not going to always agree on everything or every single issue, but as long as we have the bond that you can almost feel in this room and that I felt in that other room and can talk to each other instead of about each other -- I'm sure the people will be justified in their confidence, and all of us will feel a lot better about this land of ours.

So, now, we'll just come down and mingle, but Nancy and I will just say to all of you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Note: The President spoke at 5:53 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.