(FreedomJournal.org)- Lamar Alexander, a long-time Republican senator from Tennessee, gave an emotional farewell speech from the floor on Wednesday. He urged members of the Senate to embrace bipartisanship once again to get things done for the country.
Alexander, who has represented Tennesseans in the Senate since 2003, said:
“Our country needs a United States Senate to work across party lines to force broad agreements on hard issues, creating laws that most of us have voted for and that a diverse country will accept.”
At 80 years old, Alexander chose not to seek re-election this year. He has gained respect on both sides of the aisles, and has been known as a great deal maker. He has allied himself with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he also acknowledged that the Senate hasn’t been able to do much in recent years because of issues negotiating with Democrats.
During his speech, Alexander compared the situation to “joining the Grand Ole Opry and not being allowed to sing. It’s a real waste of talent.”
Alexander said a divided Washington — in which different parties control the chambers of Congress and/or the White House — should be a perfect situation for compromise to occur. If Joe Biden does indeed get certified by the Electoral College as the president, and if Republicans hang onto the Senate, this situation will present itself again in January.
As Alexander explained:
“When the presidency and at least one body of Congress was of different political parties, that offers an opportunity to share the responsibility or the blame for doing hard things.”
Alexander didn’t finish his speech without issuing one warning, though — that progressives shouldn’t be allowed to change the Senate. He was specifically referring to doing away with the legislative filibuster.
During his speech Alexander said the Founding Fathers “created this cooling saucer for those passions that Washington talked about and the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, is the permanent tool we use to force broad agreements on tough issues that most of you will vote for and that the country can live with.”
“[The] Senate doesn’t need a change of rules. It needs a change of behavior. And the behavior to change first is to stop blocking each other’s amendments.”
McConnell got emotional during Alexander’s speech. He then had some nice parting words of his own, saying:
“You’re leaving this body and those of us in it, and the nation it exists to serve, stronger and better because you were here.”
Even Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, had nice words for Alexander. He said the senator “will leave this chamber with a legacy that every senator would be proud of.”
Alexander was the most recent chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He’s been a part of some landmark deals in recent years.
One of the most well-known is the 21st Century Cures Act, which he worked diligently on with McConnell and Biden, who was then serving as vice president.