Retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander praised for bipartisan efforts as he bids farewell

Tim O'Donnell

As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) bid farewell to his colleagues on the Senate floor Wednesday, the retiring lawmaker received a standing ovation from the rest of the upper chamber.

In an emotional speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Alexander is "leaving this body and those of us in it, and the nation it exists to serve, stronger and better because you were here."

Veteran Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), also heaped praise on Alexander. Schumer, referring to Alexander as his friend, said he "will leave this chamber with a legacy that every senator should be proud of," emphasizing instances in which he's reached across the aisle despite potential personal political cost.

Feinstein, meanwhile, said "I truly have come to appreciate Sen. Alexander's fairness, interest in solving problems, and his bipartisanship. Most of all, I so appreciate your friendship."

In his final address, Alexander said the Senate needs "a change of behavior" resulting in lawmakers ceasing to block each other's amendments.

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