- Hatch has just become the longest-serving Republican senator in history
- Hatch, for his part, said Schumer could be one of the great leaders in the Senate
Hatch, the president pro tempore of the body, was praised by both GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a pair of floor speeches. The commemoration was a brief reprieve from a week in the Senate fueled by controversy after Sen. Elizabeth Warren sharply criticized Jeff Sessions over his nomination to be attorney general, leading to Warren being prevented from speaking about the Alabama senator until after he was confirmed.
McConnell called the milestone "impressive."
"Just recently, he passed yet another significant milestone: He became the longest serving Republican Senator in American history. Now that's impressive," McConnell said. "And yet, given what we all know about our colleague, it isn't all that surprising."
Schumer in his remarks referred to Hatch, who has served in office since 1977, as a friend and wished him "many, many more years of success, both personally and professionally."
"On issue after issue after issue, he has risen to the occasion and been the best of the Senate," said Schumer, recalling that Democrats in the past had wished for him to run for re-election to keep him around. "And it's a fitting honor that he is here."
Hatch, for his part, said Schumer could be one of the great leaders in the Senate -- although he hoped it'd be from his minority perch.