President Joe Biden paid tribute to late Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah after the veteran lawmaker passed away at the age of 88 on Saturday.

‘Jill and I and the entire Biden family are saddened to learn of the passing of Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senator in Utah’s history, and the longest-serving Republican Senator in our nation’s history,’ a statement from the White House read on Sunday.

It comes the same day Biden enjoys a golf outing with his senior adviser Cedric Richmond. 

The president, who worked with Hatch for more than 30 years as a Democratic senator from Delaware, remembered his late former colleague as ‘sharp-elbowed’ amid their many partisan disagreements on tax policy, workers’ unions and other issues.

He also praised the conservative’s fierce work ethic and ‘gentle soul,’ remarking that he was both known for sharing poems with friends and family as well as passing more legislation into law than any other living senator when he retired from Congress in 2019.

‘He was the fighter who carried with him the memory of his humble upbringing near Pittsburgh, who never humored a bully, or shied from a challenge. The young man who, upon receiving his degree from Brigham Young University, was the first in his family to graduate college; the young lawyer who built a successful law practice; and the Senator who sprinted from meeting to meeting because there was so much to do—indeed, when Senator Hatch retired, he had sponsored or co-sponsored more legislation than any Senator at the time,’ Biden said.

President Joe Biden served in the Senate alongside late Republican lawmaker Orrin Hatch for more than 30 years

President Joe Biden served in the Senate alongside late Republican lawmaker Orrin Hatch for more than 30 years

Biden came to Congress in 1973 after being elected in Delaware, while Hatch arrived on the Hill in 1977Biden came to Congress in 1973 after being elected in Delaware, while Hatch arrived on the Hill in 1977

Biden came to Congress in 1973 after being elected in Delaware, while Hatch arrived on the Hill in 1977Biden came to Congress in 1973 after being elected in Delaware, while Hatch arrived on the Hill in 1977

President Joe Biden served in the Senate alongside late Republican lawmaker Orrin Hatch (right) for more than 30 years. Biden came to Congress in 1973 after being elected in Delaware, while Hatch arrived on the Hill in 1977

‘I saw that energetic, sharp-elbowed Orrin in the many battles we had over tax policy, the right of workers to join a union, and many others.’

He continued, ‘At the same time, Senator Hatch was also a man of deep faith; a gentle soul who wrote songs and poems, and shared them with friends, colleagues, and the world.’

‘This was the Orrin who looked out for the people who often didn’t have a voice in our laws and our country,’ the president said. 

Among Hatch’s other works mentioned Biden singled out the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, of which late GOP Senator Bob Dole was also a key supporter. Dole died in December at the age of 98.

‘When I first launched the Cancer Moonshot as Vice President, one of the first visits I made was to the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, at Orrin’s request. We both saw speeding the pace of cancer research as an issue that transcended political divisions,’ Biden said.

‘When I cast my 10,000th vote in the Senate, Orrin came to the Senate floor and we had a chance to speak. I said that the greatest perk one has as a Senator was access to people with serious minds, a serious sense of purpose, and who cared about something. That was Orrin.’

As colleagues on the Senate Judiciary committee, they've presided over multiple Supreme Court confirmation hearings including that of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer (his 1994 hearing pictured here) and late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As colleagues on the Senate Judiciary committee, they've presided over multiple Supreme Court confirmation hearings including that of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer (his 1994 hearing pictured here) and late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As colleagues on the Senate Judiciary committee, they’ve presided over multiple Supreme Court confirmation hearings including that of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer (his 1994 hearing pictured here) and late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Hatch (left) and Biden (right) pictured at Ginsburg's 1993 confirmation hearing

Hatch (left) and Biden (right) pictured at Ginsburg's 1993 confirmation hearing

Hatch (left) and Biden (right) pictured at Ginsburg’s 1993 confirmation hearing

He ended the heartfelt statement by expressing his condolences to Hatch’s widow and family, calling the late senator ‘quite simply, an American original.’

The senator passed away at 5:30pm in Salt Lake City on April 23, surrounded by family, a statement from his foundation read. 

Biden’s career in the Senate began in 1973. Hatch was elected just several years later and took office in 1977.

A short while after Biden’s statement the White House announced the president had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. 

Biden also accepted an invitation to visit Israel ‘over the coming months,’ the White House’s readout of the call stated. 

The two leaders discussed ‘shared regional and global security challenges, including the threat posed by Iran and its proxies’ while emphasizing their ‘strong personal bond.’

Bennett was the first world leader to visit the White House since 13 US service members were killed in a devastating suicide attack outside of Kabul airport during the military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. 

‘This personal relationship has animated the work of our diplomatic and national security teams, enabling both countries to arrive at common positions on difficult matters,’ the White House said.

Biden and Bennett also discussed ‘ongoing efforts between Israeli and Palestinian officials to lower tensions and ensure a peaceful conclusion to the holy season of Ramadan’ after dozens of Palestinians were reportedly injured following a clash with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem on Friday. 

Source: dailymail

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