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Congressman David Price

Statement for the Record Honoring Former Representative David Dreier

October 12, 2017

MR. SPEAKER, I rise today to honor a friend, former colleague, and leader in promoting international cooperation and understanding, who was recently recognized by a key U.S. ally for his outstanding work. Last month, David Dreier received the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor bestowed to a foreign national by the Government of Mexico.

Those of us who served with Representative Dreier know him as the former chairman of the House Rules Committee, as a faithful representative of his Southern California district for more than three decades, and as a forceful champion of democracy, free trade, and the rule of law. An avowed “Reagan Republican,” Dreier was instrumental in crafting many of our nation’s current trade policies, including the North American Free Trade Agreement.

What some may not realize is that Representative Dreier was also a leader in cultivating closer ties and cooperation between the United States Congress and its partner legislatures around the world. Through our work on the House Democracy Partnership (HDP)—on which he served as the founding chairman and I served as chairman during the years of Democratic leadership—we had the opportunity to work together to advance the cause of parliamentary democracy, traveling widely and memorably to parliaments from Peru to Pakistan and hosting dozens of delegations of visiting legislators and staff in Washington.

During these engagements, Representative Dreier was a consummate diplomat and a skilled mentor, navigating sometimes-difficult bilateral issues but also the practical questions of parliamentary effectiveness. Our work together epitomized the maxim that partisanship should end at the water’s edge—a spirit that persists today under the leadership of current HDP Chairman Peter Roskam.

While our work with HDP focused on less developed democracies, Representative Dreier always had a special interest in—and fondness for—the parliamentary democracy on our southern border, Mexico. He was an active member of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission, a leader of the U.S.-Mexico Inter-parliamentary Group, a co-chair of the U.S.-Mexico Congressional Caucus, and a frequent participant in congressional delegations to Mexico. During our work with HDP, he often invoked Mexico as an example of democratic development and spoke fondly of his work as an election observer in the country.

It is fitting that Representative Dreier has been acknowledged for this work by receiving the Order of the Aztec Eagle, joining leaders such as President Eisenhower, Nelson Mandela, and Queen Elizabeth II as well as cultural icons such as Walt Disney, Plácido Domingo, and Bono. I know I speak for many in extending him my warmest congratulations and in wishing him well in his continued post-congressional service.

Dreier Honored with Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle Award

David Dreier was awarded Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle Award on September 12, 2017.  At the ceremony, Secretary Carlos Sada made the following remarks:
  • As a Congressman for over 30 years, Mr. Dreier played a key role in passing the North America Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, through the U.S. Congress.
  • This landmark agreement, which for over 23 years has impacted deeply and positively the quality of life of communities on both sides of the border, today constitutes an essential cornerstone in the intricate and interdependent economic relation between Mexico and the United States.
  • Since 1992, Mr. Dreier led the negotiations within Congress towards the signing of NAFTA. At the time, he argued that one of the main outcomes of the treaty would be an increased job creation in this country. Today, we have no doubt that he was and is right: over 5 million jobs in the United States depend on trade with Mexico; that is, one out of 29 jobs in this country.
  • But his commitment to a North America free trading zone goes back way before the negotiations even started. He was one of the first voices to present this idea in Congress, which at the time was considered "wild". It is amazing to see how far this "craziness" has gone. And I cannot help but wonder how far it will go.
  • Back in 1994, just 6 months after NAFTA came into existence, Mr. Dreier was a fierce defender of the treaty’s short term achievements.
  • He underscored that U.S. exports towards Mexico had increased by almost 1 billion dollars in just six months.
  • Although that figure was quite impressive by then, it becomes meaningless if we consider that by the end of 2016, U.S. exports to Mexico have increased by almost 180 billion dollars since 1994.
  • As a Congressman, Mr. Dreier served as living proof of one of our foreign policy principles: that we are willing and that we can successfully collaborate with our counterparts in the U.S. government, regardless of political parties or affiliations.
  • For decades, the Mexican government and the U.S. Congress have prosperously cemented the foundations of a now well-established relationship. One that consolidates our countries not only as neighbors, but as partners and friends.
  • This has been possible thanks to true and sturdy allies that we have made along the way. Tonight, I can assure you without doubt, that Mr. Dreier was, and still is, one of those powerful allies.
  • David Dreier’s knowledge and experience in this matter are unquestionable. In 2014, Mr. Dreier testified before Congress about the importance of NAFTA for the region’s economy and emphasized the need to modernize it.
  • It is no wonder that, on a continuously changing world, all the parties involved have already agreed that it is necessary to modernize our treaty in order to reflect the economic reality of the 21st century, and we have set our hands to work.
  • I have not only confidence, but certainty, that the ongoing negotiations will prove to be successful and that the outcomes will be beneficial for Mexico, the United States and Canada.
  • But Mr. Dreier’s contribution to Mexico is not only limited to this pioneering agreement. He was an outstanding member of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission, where he was in charge of providing recommendations on public policy. He also co-chaired the U.S.-Mexico Congressional Caucus, focused on improving the commercial and economic agenda of our bilateral relation.
  • He has also been a tremendous advocate of Mexico-U.S. Inter-parliamentary Meetings, having participated in them at least a dozen times. Parliamentary diplomacy is a cornerstone of Mexico’s foreign policy. It has bolstered our ties and allowed our relations at the legislative level to thrive.
  • Mr. Dreier thank you for your work in favor of the U.S. Mexico relationship.

Dreier Participates in Milken Global Conference

David Dreier participated in a panel, "Is the Pacific Future Happening Now?", at the Milken Global Conference in Beverly Hills April 28, 2015.

Click below to view a video of the panel:

Former Congressman Shares Medals with Dragos

 Beverly Hills Courier Tuesday, March 10, 2015

By Victoria Talbot

The Drago family have created some of Los Angeles’ most famous Italian restaurants, bringing a taste of Sicily to the Southland for nearly four decades. Monday evening former congressman David Dreier and a few of his friends were joined together to present medals he received from the Republic of San Marino to be hung in the Drago family restaurants as an authentic homage to the homeland.

On hand were Celestino and Giacomino, co-owners of several restaurants in Beverly Hills including Il Pastaio where the dinner was held.

Celestino Drago arrived as a young man in Los Angeles, leaving Sicily in his early 20’s to work at Osteria Romana Orsini.

Congressman David Dreier, now residing in Beverly Hills, served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 2013 representing San Dimas. Today he serves as chairman of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission focusing on trade and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The medals, said Dreier, were awarded to him at a stopover on the way to Afghanistan. The plane needed to refuel, and, because he represented San Marino, he asked to stop there.

Upon arriving, his delegation was received with open arms. The tiny Republic was established in AD 301 and is the oldest continuous Republic in the world.

A microstate located on the Italian Peninsula, it is just over 24 sq. miles. Surrounded by Italy on all sides its official name is the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, boasting a population of 32,000.

San Marino is considered to have the world’s oldest written constitution. During the United States Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln received honorary citizenship.

The medals Dreier turned over to the Dragos represent the world’s smallest republic bestowing a title on the congressman.

Though not technically “Italian,” the country shares a common language and heritage with the surrounding country.

June 27, 2013 


On  June 27, in a televised ceremony in Palazzo Begni in the Republic of San Marino, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Pasquale Valentini conferred on David Dreier the Order of Saint Agatha, in the grade of Knight Commander [add video link]. Dreier joins Sophia Loren and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as the most recent recipients of San Marino's highest honor.  The Secretary of State noted Dreier's ongoing commitment, as Chairman of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands, to promoting free exchanges between nations.

In remarks to the Captains Regent, San Marino's co-heads of state, Dreier praised the values of freedom and self governance San Marino represents.  The country, which dates its independence from 301 AD, is the oldest republic in the world.  Dreier recognized San Marino's close cooperation with the United States in such key areas as financial transparency and the struggle against extremist violence.

Later in the day the Director of San Marino's State Archives showed Dreier a letter sent by Abraham Lincoln in May 1861 to San Marino's Captains Regent, accepting San Marino's offer of honorary citizenship.  In the letter, Lincoln wrote:  “Although your dominion is small, your State is nevertheless one of the most honored, in all history. It has by its experience demonstrated the truth, so full of encouragement to the friends of Humanity, that Government founded on Republican principles is capable of being so administered as to be secure and enduring.”

Lincoln went on to comment on the civil war America had just entered: “You have kindly adverted to the trial through which this Republic is now passing. It is one of deep import. It involves the question whether a Representative republic, extended and aggrandized so much as to be safe against foreign enemies can save itself from the dangers of domestic faction. I have faith in a good result.” 

Click on the link below to watch the video coverage:

June 21, 2013

Former San Gabriel Valley Congressman David Dreier to be Knighted

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer, Pasadena Star-News

June 21, 2013

The highest office reached by Republican David Dreier was member of the House of Representatives, and for several years he was chairman of the House Rules Committee. He retired in January after serving the San Gabriel Valley and San Bernardino County areas of the 26th District for 32 years to take a job at a couple of policy think tanks

Now, he's becoming a knight.

The tiny European country of San Marino is conferring on the dapper, erudite former congressman the grade of knight-commander by the Order of Saint Agatha, the patron saint of this land-locked republic on the Italian peninsula that has been in existence since 301 A.D.

"It is the highest honor a non-citizen can be given," said his former aide, Mark Harmsen.

Dreier, 60, was chosen in part because of his work on encouraging democracies around the world, Harmsen said. He once led the only U.S. delegation to the Republic of San Marino in 2004, Harmsen said.

The country of San Marino bills itself as the oldest republic on earth. The microstate, the smallest member of the Council of Europe, is about 24 square miles and has a population of 30,000.

Dreier was elected to Congress at age 28 in 1980, riding the coattails of Ronald Reagan; he served until January 2013 when he retired after deciding not to seek re-election. He is known as a centrist who reformed the rules committee and was most proud of pushing through international trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Though supposedly asked to run, he never ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate, saying he preferred the action in the lower house.

In February, he became chairman of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission on the Greater Pacific in Palm Springs. In late May, he joined the Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit, public policy-oriented Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow. Dreier is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the International Republican Institute.

The ceremony will take place on Thursday at the Palazzo Pubblico, Piazza della Liberta, in San Marino. San Marino Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Pasquale Valentini, will confer the honor.

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