President Obama praised Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who announced she won’t run for re-election in 2016, as “more than a senator – she’s an institution.”
“She’s served the people of California for more than three decades with distinction, fighting for the issues that are close to their homes and hearts. Thanks to Barbara, more Americans breathe clean air and drink clean water. More women have access to healthcare. More children have safe places to go after school. More public lands have been protected for future generations. More Americans travel on safe roads and bridges. And more young women have been inspired to achieve their biggest dreams, having Barbara as an incredible role model,” Obama said in a statement this evening.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Barbara. She works as hard as anyone to get things done for the people of California. When she leaves the Senate at the end of this term, she will be missed greatly. But for now, I’m looking forward to working with her for the next two years, on behalf of Californians and all Americans.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama called Boxer after she announced her decision via a faux-interview video with her grandson.
“It was a particular honor to work with her on the Violence Against Women Act. You always knew in the Senate if you had Barbara on your side, you didn’t need much more,” Vice President Joe Biden said.
“I am sorry to see her go, but there are still two years left. And two years of Barbara Boxer is like having four to six years of any other senator.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a close friend of Boxer, was admittedly shocked by the news today.
“This will sound like an oxymoron to you — but she is one of the most unselfish politicians I have ever known of. She has always shared her ideas. She has always shared the credit,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference.
“My granddaughter just took her grandson out for his sixth birthday. They were born a couple of months apart, so we’re very close from a family standpoint. Barbara — Senator Boxer had a shower for my daughter Christine like four days ago, five days ago that would be, and six years, and then the next day her daughter, Nicole, had the baby, Sawyer. So they’re just very close in age. And our family celebrations have been together over time, whether it’s weddings or babies or whatever. So a close, personal friendship. And of course, I wish the best for her in that regard personally. Officially, I think it’s a big loss for the country. But she knows her timetable.”
One of Boxer’s legendary foes on the environmental policies she pushed — Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who now holds the gavel of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — even issued a statement.
“Sen. Barbara Boxer and I have served in Congress for 28 years together, and it has been a memorable tenure filled with historic accomplishments,” Inhofe said.
“While Senator Boxer and I differ on most issues, we share a deep and mutual respect that has paved the way for true bipartisan efforts in passing vital infrastructure legislation. With two more years ahead of us, I look forward to working with Senator Boxer again on a transportation reauthorization bill, and will miss her when it comes time for her next chapter following 2016.”