‘America, we’ve got a problem’: Isakson’s farewell warning

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., shakes hands with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., after what is likely his last speech on the Senate floor. (Screenshot via Senate Recording Studio)

After 20 years in Congress, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., spoke Tuesday on the Senate floor for what might be his last time. He delivered a warning to the country and a call for bipartisanship.

Worried that the “strongest country in the world” might “succumb to crushing itself inwardly,” he told the chamber, and C-SPAN2 viewers, that he sees bipartisanship “slipping away.”

He called on Americans to use “your conscious and your heart.”

The Georgia Republican spoke for about 24 minutes, including several anecdotes about bipartisanship and his experiences in Congress. Notably, he talked about his relationship with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and a bipartisan moment they shared last month during a series of House floor tributes to Isakson.

The Senate had their own lengthy tribute to the outgoing senator, with colorful stories from both sides of the aisle, immediately after his farewell address Tuesday.

Isakson cited “health issues” as the reason for his Dec. 31 departure, which he announced in August. The 74-year-old has Parkinson’s disease and had two other publicly reported medical incidents in this calendar year — a fall in July and surgery to remove a kidney in August.