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Strange warns against 'entrenched factionalism' in Senate farewell speech

Strange warns against 'entrenched factionalism' in Senate farewell speech
© Greg Nash

Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe Trump Presidency: Year One Dems search for winning playbook Stephen Bannon steps down from Breitbart MORE (R-Ala.) in his farewell address on Thursday urged his colleagues to work across party lines, lamenting the "entrenched factionalism that dominates today's proceedings."

“When we have each left this great body, I know we would like to be remembered as men and women in the arena, as people who spent themselves in worthy causes. I’m convinced the worthiest cause we can join today is the return to the collegiality, the pragmatism and yes, dare I say, the compromise of the marble room,” Strange said on the Senate floor.

Strange was appointed in February to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MORE, pending a special election.

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Despite the support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE and other Republican lawmakers, Strange lost in a Republican primary runoff in September to Roy Moore. 

Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a special election Tuesday that will determine Strange’s replacement.

That race has drawn significant national interest, particularly in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore. Strange has called the allegations that Moore made advances on teenagers when he was in his 30s “very, very disturbing.

Strange spoke on Thursday about the history of the Senate, and how it has historically been built on the idea of compromise. He invoked Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and others.

Strange warned that a lack of compromise threatens his colleagues’ ability to advance “meaningful policy.”

“The Senate was designed to accommodate conflict and profound disagreement. It was not, however, designed to tolerate the entrenched factionalism that dominates today’s proceedings,” Strange said.

“It was not designed for the people’s representatives to hunker down in private rooms, emerging only long enough to come to the chamber and cast votes. The less time we spend in the same room, the easier it becomes to view our colleagues on the other side of the aisle as obstacles instead of opportunities,” he continued.

Strange said he believes the current Senate will be judged on whether it can heal “divisions of this nation and body.”

“Political voices today are arguing louder and louder about smaller and smaller things. It’s easy for those outside this chamber to insist they know what should be done, and as long as we remain so deeply divided, those outside voices will always win,” Strange said.