Hosni Mubarak has officially stepped down as president of Egypt and ceded power to the High Council of Armed Forces. During the weeks of violent protests, American leaders have watched every last development and discussed what it could mean for the Middle East and peace in the region. Here's their reaction to the latest news. We will continue to update this throughout the day.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio
"I hope this will lead to an orderly transition to a more orderly government."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
"I am pleased that President Mubarak has heard and heeded the voice of the Egyptian people, who have called for change. It is crucial that Mubarak's departure be an orderly one and that it leads to true democracy for Egypt, including free, fair and open elections. We caution all sides against violence during this transition, and we will be watching the situation closely. We wish the Egyptian people the best in their next steps toward determining their own future under a democratic process."
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.
"I congratulate the Egyptian people for their resolve, courage, and determination to end a thirty year undemocratic system. President Mubarak's resignation today is a major step toward democracy, but it does not complete the task. We should encourage the military, which is now in control, to set out a path to achieve free, transparent, and open elections no later than the current September schedule. There must be an immediate end to any and all laws that prevent the development of viable political parties and a process that encourages moderate and progressive parties to emerge. At this moment, ‘We are all Egyptians.'"
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
"Now that the immediate demands of the Egyptian people have been met, steps must be taken for the prompt commencement of a calm and orderly transition process towards freedom and democracy in Egypt... The Egyptian military can continue to play a constructive role in providing for security and stability during this transformational period. The U.S. and our allies must focus our efforts on helping to create the necessary conditions for such a transition to take place. We must also urge the unequivocal rejection of any involvement by the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremists who may seek to exploit and hijack these events to gain power, oppress the Egyptian people, and do great harm to Egypt's relationship with the United States, Israel, and other free nations."
Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo.
"This announcement is a positive step, and an historic opportunity - and major challenge - for the people of Egypt to establish a government that's responsive to their hopes and needs... The U.S. must stand ready to support an Egyptian-led transition and reform process that respects universal freedoms, human rights, and the democratic aspirations of the Egyptian people."
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J.
"Only the Egyptian people can determine if Egypt's military can be trusted... We should stand with them in their right to self determination."
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.
"America stands for the right of the Egyptian people to realize their highest aspirations, and today's news of President Mubarak's resignation marks the most significant moment in Egypt's recent history... I am hopeful that the Egyptian military, now in power, will follow through on recent promises to amend Egypt's constitution, implement democratic changes, investigate the acts of violence that ensued in recent weeks, and advance an orderly and peaceful transition."
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.
"The Egyptian people have asked for something very simple and yet remarkable, something that every American can identify with; a good job, food on the table, and a say in the future of their country. America has stood with the Egyptian people and taken its place on the right side of history. Egypt, and the entire world, will remember America's stand for peace and democracy for generations to come. While the resignation of President Mubarak is a monumental step, it is a first step. Egypt's transition to true democracy will require continued support from the United States and peace loving nations throughout the world."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
"It is impossible to watch the images coming from Egypt of huge numbers of ordinary Egyptians - young and old, secular and religious, men and women, rich and poor - and not be deeply moved by their struggle to bring democracy and human rights to one of the world's great civilizations. Ultimately, the Egyptian people control their political destiny, but the stakes are high for the United States as well. If Egypt succeeds in building a functioning, credible democracy in the heart of the Arab world, it could lead to a new era for hundreds of millions of people."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"The world has benefitted from the impatience of youth in Egypt; our faith in the future is strengthened by their powerful example. They have demonstrated enormous bravery in demanding the democratic freedoms that will help them achieve their aspirations. Today marks progress for the brave people of Egypt, and for those working for universal freedoms around the world. The future of Egypt now belongs to the Egyptian people."
Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill.
"Our thoughts today are with the people of Egypt as they celebrate this historic non-violent transition of power in their nation with hopes for a more free and prosperous future. The resignation of President Mubarak paves the way for new leaders to emerge through democratic elections guided by the principles of freedom to lead the people of Egypt forward. We urge a prompt and orderly transition but caution the people of Egypt to avoid the advances of extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood who would rule through fear and draw a wedge among Egypt, the United States, Israel and other nations."
"The challenges now facing the Egyptian people are formidable. The Army will be decisive. If it defends the popular will, it will earn its rightful place in history. If the army violates the public's trust, it would also be a blow to our relations with Egypt and would put at risk our longstanding assistance."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
"This is an opportunity for the Egyptian people to chart a new, more hopeful and democratic future. Today's events should hearten those struggling for greater freedom and respect for human rights in our own Hemisphere."
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.
"President Mubarak's decision to step down today marks the beginning of an extraordinary new chapter in the history of a great and ancient nation - a hopeful chapter that the people of Egypt, through peaceful and courageous protest, have secured the freedom and opportunity to write for themselves. The United States has had a longstanding friendship and partnership with Egypt; now that partnership must be applied to support the successful, orderly transition to genuine democracy that the Egyptian people desire. I hope that the Egyptian army - which has displayed such admirable professionalism and restraint during the historic events of recent days - will seize the opportunity to reach out to the opposition and make them a full partner in jointly developing a roadmap and timetable for transition..."
Rep. Tom Price,R-Ga., House Republican Policy Committee Chairman
"As the world has watched the events in Egypt unfold over the past weeks, at home the American people have seen an administration taking a new tone in response to individuals crying out for freedom. The manner in which the Obama Administration has chosen to be publicly active in the circumstances surrounding the protests in Egypt is in sharp contrast to the deafening silence that came from the White House when Iranian protesters were demanding change in their own country. The oppressive Iranian regime is a threat not only to their own people but to the region, our ally Israel, and those who cherish freedom throughout the world; yet the Obama Administration was remarkably absent when those who have lived under that oppressive regime cried out for change. It is an inconsistency that the administration has yet to sufficiently explain."