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Franken urges senators to 'stand up for truth' in final floor speech

Outgoing Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenOvernight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Pawlenty departing Wall Street group as campaign rumors swirl Bachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' MORE (D-Minn.) took a parting shot at 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 the rhetoric of the GOP on Wednesday as he delivered his final speech from the Senate floor.

Franken ran through a litany of policies — including the newly passed tax bill, ObamaCare and climate change — where he said the Trump administration's positions are at odds with what's best for most Americans. 

"The values being advanced by the president and his allies in Congress simply don't represent my belief that our economy, our democracy and our country works best when they work for everyone," Franken said.

The GOP agenda, he said, is about "consolidating political [and] economic power in the hands of corporations and the very wealthy." 

He questioned whether senators were "losing the war on truth." 

"Who will stand up and fight for more honest debate? ... I hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will stand up for truth," he said. 

Franken, who is resigning from Congress after a number of women accused him of forcibly kissing or groping them, had initially said on Wednesday that he would give a "a series of final speeches" before leaving office. But he appeared to backpedal on Thursday, saying his remarks would be his final speech from the floor. 

The Senate could wrap up its work for the year as soon as Thursday. Franken will formally resign on Jan. 2. 

Franken used the speech to express worry about the direction of the country, saying "there's something wrong with the way that we are arguing" and urging Americans to become more informed about current events. 

"It started long before 2016. Lurking behind each of those issues isn't just a difference of opinion or a different of values. There's something far worse, a lie," he said. 

Nearly 30 Democratic senators sat and listened to Franken's speech from their desks on the floor. 

Franken also gave a shout-out to Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSanders wants pharma CEOs to testify on opioid crisis Trump expects us to trade clean air and water for updated infrastructure House GOP warming to ObamaCare fix MORE (R-Tenn.) and thanked him for his work as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

"I've learned from Republicans. I learned to respect, if not always agree, with their opinions and learned how their backgrounds can lead them to reach, in good faith, a conclusion I could never have imagined," he said. 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Regulation: EPA sued over water rule delay | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Regulators talk bitcoin | Patient groups oppose FDA 'right to try' bill Overnight Finance: Senators near two-year budget deal | Trump would 'love to see a shutdown' over immigration | Dow closes nearly 600 points higher after volatile day | Trade deficit at highest level since 2008 | Pawlenty leaving Wall Street group Dem senator presses FTC to ramp up Equifax hack probe MORE (D-Minn.) praised Franken after his speech, saying he "defied expectations" when he joined the Senate. 

"I think that last call of action that he left us with ... the truth in what we do and truth in politics is something that no one should forget in this chamber. It is one way that Al's work will live on," she said. 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to fill Franken's seat next year.