Sen. Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinThe Trumpification of the federal courts Global health is the last bastion of bipartisan foreign policy Can the United States Senate rise to the occasion? Probably not MORE (D-Mich.) said he isn’t retiring because of partisan gridlock but simply to spend more time with family.

“I’m often asked if I’m leaving out of frustration over gridlock,” Levin said Friday. “The answer is no.

“I know the Senate can do better because I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. … Bipartisanship is not extinct.”


As chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, Levin has co-authored several bipartisan defense bills. He has ensured that the Senate hasn’t broken a more than 50-year tradition of annually passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Levin famously opposed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) use of the “nuclear option” to change the Senate filibuster rules. He said, although he supports the goal of advancing a president’s nominations, a bad precedent was set on how rules could be changed in the upper chamber. He said the next Congress should amend the filibuster rules at the start of the new Congress so that it’s easier to confirm nominees.

“That precedent will not serve the country well in the future because it leaves the minority with no protection,” Levin said. “I hope the Senate next year considers reversing that precedent while simultaneously amending the rules.”

Levin, who is retiring after more than 35 years in the Senate, thanked his family and staff for being supportive over the years, particularly his brother, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who has served in the House since 1982.

Sandy Levin sat next to his brother during his farewell speech on the Senate floor Friday.

“Congress is keeping the better half of team Levin,” Levin said.

Nearly 20 senators from both sides of the aisle took to the floor to pay tribute to Levin after his speech.