"Regardless of who is in the minority, any suppression of the ability to debate and shape legislation is tantamount to silencing millions of voices and ideas which are critical to developing the best possible solutions," Snowe said.
The Greek American woman, who was orphaned at the age of 9 and later became the third-longest serving woman in the Senate, ended her speech with hope for the future.
"I worry we are losing the art of legislating. So as I depart the Senate that I love, I urge all of my colleagues to follow the Founding Fathers's blueprint, in order to return the institution to its highest calling of governing through consensus," she said. "For it is only then that the United States Senate can ascend to fulfill the demands of our times, the promise of our nation, and the rightful expectations of the American people."
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.