Hatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLive coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney Romney sworn in as senator MORE (R-Utah) said on Wednesday that the Senate is "in crisis" and urged his colleagues to return to "comity" as he formally said goodbye to the chamber he has served in for more than 40 years. 

Hatch, who is the longest-serving GOP senator, told his colleagues who were in the chamber listening to his speech that he feels "sadness" and that his heart "aches" for when the chamber matched its nickname of the world's greatest deliberative body. 

“The last several years I have seen the abandonment of regular order ... Gridlock is the new norm. And like the humidity here, partisanship permeates everything we do," Hatch said. 

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He added that "limbo is the new name of the game," with both parties trying to outdo the other in going "lower." 

"All the evidence points to an unsettling truth: The Senate, as an institution, is in crisis, or at least may be in crisis," Hatch said. 

Hatch is one of several senators who have talked about the need for bipartisanship from the Senate floor this week. Departing Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 2020 Election: Democrats can’t afford to ignore their Israel problem Hirono will donate salary earned during government shutdown MORE (D-N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party Senate approves funding bill, preventing partial government shutdown MORE (D-Ind.) both touched on the issue on Tuesday.

Hatch warned that dysfunction within the Senate has national implications.  

"It ripples far beyond these walls, to every state, to every town and to every street corner in America. The Senate seats the tone of American civic life," Hatch said. “Unless we take meaningful steps to restore civility, the culture wars will push us ever closer toward national divorce."

Hatch laid the blame for the country's current political climate on both parties, recalling the rhetoric around the 2017 tax plan or Republican predictions about what would happen if Democrats won the White House, as well as attempts to "own the libs" or "disparage the deplorables." 

"If you're looking to convert someone to your side, humiliating them is probably not the best place to start. Who among us would make friends with the same person who would make him a fool?" Hatch asked.