Mr. Speaker, I appreciate Chairman Berman bringing this before the House for consideration today. Time Magazine named Margaret Thatcher one of the 20 most influential leaders of the 20th century, and for good reason. She is the only woman to have ever held the post of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. She is a fearless leader, an advocate for democracy around the world, and a steadfast friend of the United States.
This resolution recognizes the 30th anniversary of her election as the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of Great Britain for 11 years, from 1979 to 1990. At the time of her resignation, she was the longest continuously serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1827.
This resolution pays tribute to her remarkable professional achievements. In addition to being the only woman to have ever held the post of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, she was also leader of the Conservative Party for 15 years, from 1975 to 1990, and was the only woman to ever hold that post.
In the 20th century, she was the only Prime Minister to win three consecutive terms, a testament to her bold and tenacious leadership. This resolution also recognizes Prime Minister Thatcher's dedicated work in promoting individual rights and free markets throughout the world. During her time in office, Prime Minister Thatcher fostered the dawning of a new distinctive type of politics called ``Thatcherism,'' which emphasized individual responsibility and fiscal and social policies.
When she came into office, the state of the United Kingdom's economy was in deep despair. There were pickets; there were strikes; there were food shortages; pregnant women were denied medical services and the country had double-digit inflation. Margaret Thatcher represented a literal end to socialized government and the reinstitution of the free market philosophy.
Through plain speaking and sheer determination, she persuaded city after city to contract out public services to private companies, saving taxpayers $30 billion every year. Company by company, she denationalized the entire economy. Family by family, she taught the nation the importance of living within their means. What a novel concept.
During her tenure, 3 million families moved from public housing and became homeowners under her Right-to-Buy program. Homeownership under her administration jumped from 53 percent to 71 percent.
This resolution also recognizes Margaret Thatcher's robust and principled approach to foreign policy during the long Cold War. Prime Minister Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan were key forces in the collapse of communism under the former Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, in 1976, Prime Minister Thatcher delivered such a bold speech against communism in the Soviet Union that the Soviet Union Army's newspaper started calling her the ``Iron Lady,'' and it stuck. The Iron Lady helped bring down the Iron Curtain, Mr. Speaker.
Finally, this resolution acknowledges the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom fostered by Prime Minister Thatcher. Under her direction, the United States and the United Kingdom worked to overcome communism, encourage free markets around the world, curb terrorism, and promote democratic and individualistic values.
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