Lewis honors Isakson on House floor as senator nears end of political career

WASHINGTON — While people across the country had their eyes on the latest testimony in the impeachment inquiry, there was a true act of bipartisanship that took place over in the House chamber.

Longtime Atlanta Rep. John Lewis took to the House floor to honor his friend and colleague, Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Isakson is resigning from the Senate at the end of the year because of health reasons related to Parkinson's disease.

[PHOTOS: Sen. Johnny Isakson through the years]

After asking for time from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Lewis laid out his more than 40-year career in politics, which included holding Georgia's 6th Congressional District seat.

"On Feb. 25, 1999, I introduced Johnny as the newest member of the Georgia Congressional delegation to the House of Representatives," Lewis said. "On that day, I said he brought a wealth of knowledge with him."

Lewis reflected on Isakson’s years of service that brought the two together to work on several issues including transportation, water, housing and veteran affairs – an issue that Isakson held near and dear to his heart throughout the years.

[READ: How will U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson's replacement be chosen?]

"Johnny developed a great reputation as a bridge builder, a man with strong belief but willing to work with others to get things done."

Lewis also reflected on Isakson’s commitment to the Voting Right Act.

"Senator, you not only supported the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, but a few years later, you even co-led the congressional delegation to Selma, Alabama. I want to say thank you for all of your good and great work," Lewis said.

Lewis was one of the hundreds of civil rights marchers who were beaten back by police officers equipped with tear gas and clubs as they tried to cross the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge in March of 1964.

[READ: Isakson in first interview since announcing resignation: 'I'm not done yet']

The congressman reflected on one of his favorite moments he had with Isakson, which included a talk with his staff about the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

“You asked me to come and speak with your staff about my service and my own experiences (before addressing the House). We had an honest and thoughtful discussion. It was one of the most meaningful, memorable experiences from my years on the Congress. I carry my heart to this very day, to this very moment, what you said,” Lewis said.

Lewis reflected on Isakson’s quiet nature, how he generally avoided Washington’s glaring spotlight, particularly when it came to his most sensitive areas of work, but also commanded attention from the highest levels when needed.

[READ: Gov. Brian Kemp to pick Sen. Johnny Isakson's replacement in next few weeks]

As he concluded his speech, Lewis appeared to get emotional as Isakson’s days in politics near an end.

"Madame Speaker, it is almost difficult to yield back the time when I speak of this good and great leader from the state of Georgia. Thank you, brother, for your service,” Lewis said. “I'm lucky enough and just blessed really to call you a friend and brother.”

Lewis and Isakson then met each other on the House floor and hugged. They then sat together in the House chamber for a bit after.

In a tweet, Isakson said he was very moved by Lewis' speech.

Gov. Brian Kemp will name Isakson's replace after the senator steps down at the end of the year.

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