Washington, DC – In today’s Roll Call, deputy editor Jason Dick highlighted Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR)’s efforts to bring people together and find real solutions to improve the lives of the American people during his time in Congress.
You can read the full column here or read the highlights below.
By Jason Dick, Deputy Editor
December 7, 2020
OPINION — Politics attracts its fair share of spleen-venters, be they petulant presidents or colicky congressmen. But two veteran, retiring lawmakers steeped for years in electoral jockeying and no strangers to campaign combat are showing one can do your job in public life while still acting like an adult.
“Our country needs a United States Senate, to thoughtfully and carefully and intentionally put country before partisanship and personal politics to force broad agreements on controversial issues that become laws that most of us will vote for and that a diverse country will accept,” Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander said in his farewell speech to the Senate on Dec. 2.
Such sentiments are commonplace in senators’ floor speeches. What makes Alexander’s different is that he actually lived that.
Across the Rotunda, retiring members of the House rarely get the floor fanfare their departing Senate counterparts do. But retiring Rep. Greg Walden, the Oregon Republican who is the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, recently made some statements similar to Alexander’s.
“I always tried to do hearings, and then markups, you know, and subcommittee and full committee,” Walden said in an interview with CQ Roll Call’s Sandhya Raman. “I think it’s really important to do that and to realize that people sitting on the other side of the dais aren’t your enemies. They may just have different views.”
Walden, like Alexander, is no pure policy geek.
A two-time chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, he knows what makes partisans tick. After the 2016 cycle, he became chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and after the 2018 election its ranking member, helping pass such big-ticket items as an omnibus 2018 opioid treatment law.
“I think that was an extraordinary piece of legislation. And, you know, you work on a lot of bills here, but seldom can you say that you’ve passed something that really saves lives,” Walden told CQ Roll Call last month.
A skeptic might think: Easy for them to say. They’re retiring.
But they do have the legislative track records to back that up.
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