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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today honored retiring U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on the Senate floor.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, yesterday afternoon Richard Shelby delivered his farewell here in the United States Senate.
“If it is difficult to think of the Senate without some of our retiring members, it’s nearly impossible to think of it without Richard Shelby.
“Like Jim Inhofe, he’s a Senate institution.
“He’s proudly served the state of Alabama for six terms in the Senate.
“That’s 36 years of tireless work to make life better for the people of Alabama and for the American people as a whole.
“He is currently the longest-serving senator in Alabama’s history, as well as the longest-serving member in history of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“Mr. President, throughout his Senate career, Richard has always kept his eye on getting things done for the people of Alabama, whether that’s supporting Alabama military installations or the work NASA does in his state.
“He’s a longtime NASA advocate, and, as chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Defense at the Senate Appropriations Committee, he has worked to ensure robust funding for our national security priorities.
“He’s also been a champion of funding to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
“And he’s been a supporter of scientific research at various government agencies, as well as in partnership with research universities.
“Mr. President, Richard is also notable for being one of the tallest U.S. senators.
“That’s significant to me because as a tall guy myself, I don’t often run into people I can look up to.
“But I look up to Richard.
“Literally – and figuratively.
“Richard’s record of service and his dedication to the people of his state are an inspiration to me and to many others as we carry out our work in the Senate.
“And I will miss his presence and his example – as well as his sense of humor, which has lightened the mood on many challenging days.
“But if anyone has earned his retirement, it is Richard Shelby.
“And I wish him and Annette – his wife of 62 years – some very well-deserved relaxation and the very best of everything in the years ahead.
“Mr. President, later today Senator Pat Toomey – my longtime colleague on the Senate Finance Committee – will deliver his farewell remarks.
“Pat is known for, among other things, his steadfast commitment to pro-market policies – fiscal responsibility, pro-growth tax policy, free trade, limited but efficient regulation – and above all for his command of these issues.
“He has a tremendous grasp of finance, banking, and the economy, and an equally tremendous understanding of what the ins and outs of the tax code mean for business, saving and investment, and entrepreneurship.
“And he’s able to break down these oftentimes byzantine subjects and explain them in plain language.
“These attributes made Pat the indispensable man during tax reform five years ago.
“His expertise and commitment were key to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – the wide-ranging reform of our tax code that put more money in American families’ pockets and made American businesses more competitive.
“Beyond tax policy, Pat has consistently fought protectionism in its many forms.
“He has pushed back on financial market regulations that restrict fair competition.
“And he has fiercely advocated for market-opening initiatives that benefit Pennsylvania families, workers, and businesses.
“He is going to be missed in the Senate – and on the Senate Finance Committee in particular – for his knowledge and his experience, and for his practical approach to getting things done for the American people.
“Mr. President, I admire Pat for his economic expertise.
“But I especially admire him for his thoughtfulness, his decency, and the fact that he is very principled.
“He has stayed committed to the causes he believes in, from improving economic opportunity for American families, to reducing government waste, to protecting taxpayer dollars.
“And while I don’t know what he will do next, I am confident that whatever he does will continue his commitment to building an economy that works for the American people.
“Mr. President, I want to wish Pat and his wife Kris the very best on his retirement.
“I hope they are able to enjoy some well-deserved rest in the coming months.
“And I look forward to seeing all that Pat will do in the future.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”