In farewell speech, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey gives advice to both parties
In his final speech before his retirement from the U.S. Senate, Pat Toomey dispensed advice for Republicans and Democrats.
He urged Republicans not to be beholden to "one man," a not-so-veiled reference to former president Donald Trump. For Democrats, he advised them not to hand the reins of democracy to unelected judges.
"The end or purpose of elections is to provide accountability of the government to the people," Toomey said on the Senate floor on Friday. "When we hand over Congress' responsibilities to unelected and therefore unaccountable parts of our government, be that the courts or independent regulators or executive branch agencies, we really undermine our democracy, which is really our republic."
Toomey did acknowledge both sides had done that.
"Representing Pennsylvania in the United States Senate for these 12 years has been the greatest honor of my professional life," Toomey added.
Toomey also recommended keeping the filibuster, a tool that effectively requires 60 votes to pass most legislation in the Senate.
His greatest accomplishment, Toomey said, was the 2017 tax cuts.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service released a report in 2019 showing that by and large, those tax cuts did not work, including increasing the federal deficit to $984 billion, a record high at the time.
"There was an acceleration in terms of momentum for business investment, but it was rather short-lived," Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics told NPR in 2019. "A year further down the road, we're really not seeing much of any leftover of this fiscal stimulus package."
Toomey also praised Sen. Bob Casey, whom he worked alongside for more than a decade.
"I don’t think you could ask for a more collegial, thoughtful colleague than the fella that shares the senatorial responsibilities with me for Pennsylvania,” Toomey said.
Toomey was one of seven Republican senators to vote in favor of impeaching former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He previously voted against two articles of impeachment in 2020. He declined to run for reelection in 2022.
Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz in the race to be his successor.