Tom Daschle and Mel Martinez, two former U.S. senators who have since logged time at DLA Piper, said at a firm-sponsored forum today not to expect much action in Congress next year.
Daschle, a former Democratic Senate majority leader and a senior policy adviser at DLA Piper since last year, said the United States has developed a reputation as the “noisy neighbors” in the world. He said the country should be taking a leadership role on issues like the environment.
“I don’t think we can afford to be the noisy neighbors in the world for the foreseeable future,” Daschle told an audience of DLA Piper clients and guests at the Willard InterContinental in downtown Washington. “Control of Congress,” he added, “has become the preeminent goal of each party, at the expense of governing.”
Martinez, who represented Florida until he resigned in 2009, bemoaned the retirement or defeat of fellow moderate Republicans. He mentioned Kit Bond (Mo.) and George Voinovich (Ohio), who are retiring, and Bob Bennett (Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who lost their bids for re-nomination.
“Essentially, none of those names will be in the Senate the next session,” he said, though Murkowski has launched a write-in bid. “They are going to be replaced by people who are more likely to be aligned with Jim DeMint, whose name is not often used in the same breath as compromise.” DeMint (R-S.C.) is one of the chamber’s most conservative senators.
Martinez left DLA Piper in July to join JPMorgan Chase & Co. as its chairman for Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The forum where he and Daschle spoke was cosponsored by DLA-Piper and the communications firm Purple Strategies.