In an unusual moment of public graciousness, Sen. Minority Whip Dick Durbin praised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his leadership of the Senate in the last several weeks.
After McConnell’s opening speech, Durbin spoke to recognize the “constructive relationship” in the Senate as the Kentucky Senator remained standing at his podium and smiling.
Durbin thanked McConnell for fostering an environment open to debates, an open amendment process, and a feeling of mutual respect between both parties in the Senate.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what we’ve seen over the last several weeks is the Senate I remember, the Senate I was elected to, the Senate – whether it was active debate, and amendments – for some members it is a new experience,” Durbin said.
Durbin lamented the conditions of the Senate under the leadership of Harry Reid. To thwart its Republican minority, Reid maintained a sluggish pace and prevented amendments to important bills.
“We have not insisted on burning 30 hours and 60 hours at a time, causing people who subscribe to C-SPAN to call their cable operators and say ‘Why am I paying for the Senate? Nothing’s happening,’” Durbin said.
After Durbin was finished, McConnell thanked him for his comments.
“I do think this has been good for the Senate, good for both parties, good for America,” he said. “We’re getting back to normal and I thank the Senator for his comments and for his cooperation.”
As Senate Minority Whip, Durbin is currently filling in for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, as he continues to heal after his painful exercising accident during the Christmas recess.
“I look forward to, in my role, as soon as Senator Reid returns, as the whip on the Democratic side, to do our best to continue this constructive relationship,” Durbin said.