By Bob Cusack - 12/24/09 05:33 PM EST
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Wednesday ripped the Senate's "newest members" for the lack of comity in the upper chamber.
In a floor speech Wednesday night, Dodd said there is "nothing wrong" with partisanship, but added he has "been deeply disturbed by some of the [healthcare] debate I have heard, usually from newer members, usually those who have been here one, two, three years, who do not have an appreciation of what this chamber means and how we work together."
Most of the newest members of the Senate are Democrats, having been swept into office in the blue waves of the 2006 and 2008 elections. One of the newest members of the upper chamber is Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who recently did not allow Dodd's Connecticut colleague, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I), to extend his floor remarks on healthcare reform. Franken's office has noted that as the presiding officer, the Minnesota senator was under strict orders to keep the healthcare debate moving, which was confirmed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office.
During his speech on Wednesday, Dodd repeatedly revisited his disappointment with the newest members of the Senate: "It is always the newest members who fail to understand how the Senate has worked for more than two centuries. We need to get back to that sense of civility once again ... Even though we have had very strong disagreements, I never once in my life in this chamber ever questioned the patriotic intentions of any member ... the idea you challenge another's patriotism, honesty, their integrity, does a great disservice to this institution, in my view."
He later added, "Again, I regret sometimes the newer members who fail to understand the importance of maintaining that which our Founders envisioned when they created this institution."