Senator Harkin's remarks on reform of the filibuster on January 25, 2013.
For the second time this week, a veteran member of the United States Senate has announced that he will be exiting the Congress after the 2014 midterms. This will be a great loss for Senate Dems, and the nation, as Tom Harkin announced his decision to retire:
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin will not seek re-election in 2014, the Iowa Democrat said Saturday.
The 73-year-old Harkin told The Associated Press in an interview, “It’s just time to step aside,” noting that by the time he would finish a sixth term, he would be 81.
Harkin said the move also would allow a new generation of Democrats to seek higher office.
Harkin will end four decades in Washington with his retirement, after serving for a decade as a member of Congress representing the state's (now-defunct) 5th district before being elected to the Senate in 1984.
Harkin is a leading liberal in the Senate, chairing the health, education, labor and pensions committee and having served as a key salesman of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care bill.
While discussing the announcement with C&L's own Scarce, he remarked "You've got to think the recent filibuster b.s. was the final straw for Harkin, or at least played a part in his decision."
Harkin was an outspoken advocate on filibuster reform, having just addressed the Senate on the topic on the morning of Harry Reid's filibuster debacle.noted that his decision came as a surprise "considering he had $2.7 million in his campaign war chest and was planning a gala fundraiser in Washington, D.C., next month."
Ah, to be a fly on the wall of the senate chamber...
Harkin becomes the third Senate retiree in recent weeks, joining Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.