They knew they had an obligation to work together to make sure the Senate discharged its responsibilities effectively.
The continued success of our Republic depends on our responsibilities.
Our arcane rules and customs are intended to require broad cooperation.
The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to makeIncremental progress on solving America's problems and to defend her from her adversaries.
When I hear that the Senate is the world's greatest deliberative body, I think of the principled mindset and service of our predecessors.
I don't think we can claim that distinction with a straight face.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't always deserved.
I was privileged to witness some of the times when it was.
Today's deliberations are often lively and interesting because of the exercise of all our responsibilities, including authorizing government policies, appropriating the funds to implement them, and exercising our advice and consent role.
They are more partisan and more tribal than any other time.
I think we all agree that our deliberations are still important and useful.
They aren't producing much for the American people right now.
I've let my passion rule my reason.
Sometimes I made it hard to find common ground because of something I said to a colleague.
Sometimes I wanted to win more for the sake of winning than for the policy that I wanted to change.
Incremental progress, compromises that each side criticize but also accept, just plain muddling through to chip away at problems and keep our enemies from doing their worst isn't exciting or glamorous.
It doesn't feel like a victory.
It's usually the most we can expect from our system of government, which operates in a country as diverse and free as ours.
Considering the injustice and cruelties inflicted by autocratic governments, and how corruptible human nature can be, the problem solving our system does make possible, the fitful progress it produces, and the liberty and justice it preserves, is a magnificent achievement.
Our system is not dependent on our nobility.
Our individual efforts have helped make our society the most powerful and prosperous in the world.
I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again, and on doing better serve the people who elected us.
They don't want to do anything that will benefit the public.
Their livelihood is our incapacity.
Let's go back to normal.
We keep trying to win without help from across the aisle because we've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues.
Both sides have used this approach of mandating legislation from the top down without any support from the other side.
We're not getting anything done.
Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The healthcare insurance system is a mess.
We all know that those who support and those who oppose it.
Republicans have been looking for a way to end it and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price.
When we started trying to get rid of the policy, it wasn't very popular.
The Obama administration and congressional Democrats should not have forced through a social and economic change without opposition.
We shouldn't do the same thing.
The old way of legislating in the Senate encourages us to act.
Let's return to regular order if this process ends in failure.
The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray should hold hearings and try to report a bill with contributions from both sides.
If we can pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, that might provide workable solutions to problems Americans are struggling with today.
The Senate can do that.
I've seen it many times.
The times when I was involved in a modest way with working out a bipartisan response to a national problem or threat are the proudest moments of my career.
The place is important.
The work we do is important.
The strange rules that slow our proceedings and insist on our cooperation are important.
The Senate was thought to be more deliberative and careful than the other body because of the public passions of the hour.
The Executive's powers are checked by us.
Our consent is needed for the President to appoint jurists and powerful government officials.
We are not the President's subordinates if we are of the same party.