Hatch warns Senate 'in crisis' in farewell speech

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese 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 HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (D-N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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.