Here’s What Retiring Lawmakers Will Miss Most About Congress

PHOTO: U.S. Capitol buildingGetty Images
The sun sets over the U.S. Capitol building.

As the 113th Congress draws to a close, departing lawmakers have taken to the floor of the House and Senate to say goodbye.

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These farewell addresses, a tradition on Capitol Hill at the end of each two-year session, are a chance for soon-to-be former elected officials to give thanks, reflect on work, call for bipartisanship and push for policies one last time. But during this year’s speeches, lawmakers also revealed what they will miss most about being on the Hill.

Rep. Michele Bachmann retiring, but says ‘I'm not going to go home and put a sock in my mouth’

Here’s a look:

1. Rare moments of bipartisanship

Retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, D-South Dakota, acknowledged that “the need for bipartisanship and the lack of it in the Senate is a hallmark of Senate farewell speeches.” Instead, the senior senator chose to share the “rare instances” when he had experienced it, including the support he received after suffering a brain hemorrhage in 2006 and “colleagues on the other side of the aisle never once tried to take advantage of my absence.”

“In the years ahead, I will miss this family, not the bickering that I mentioned earlier, but the blessing that you have all been to [my wife] Barbara and me,” Johnson said.

2. Boozing With Colleagues

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, said that when asked what he will miss most about the Senate, “the answer is very easy.”

“I will miss my friends and the relationship we have developed over the years.” Chambliss called Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., “a great chairman and partner on the Intelligence Committee,” and said he will miss “those late afternoon glasses of California wine” with her.

3. Custom Transportation

Your office probably doesn’t have an underground subway in it. But the Capitol’s does.

Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, thanked one of the Capitol’s railroad car drivers, James. Bachmann called him a “wonderful friend,” and said they “literally [had] tears in our eyes when we are saying goodbye to each other in these last days. He has brought joy to my heart.”

4. Making a difference

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Arkansas, who lost re-election after serving for 12 years to Republican Tom Cotton, confessed he “will miss waking up every morning and thinking, ‘How can I make a difference for Arkansas and America today?’”

5. Sunsets with a view