Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Honoring Former Senator Mike Enzi
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 
Today, I join my colleagues to mourn the passing of my friend, former Senator Mike Enzi.
 
Just a few months ago, Mike stood here in this chamber, on December the Second, to say farewell.
 
After 24 years serving the people of his beloved state, he returned home to Wyoming.
 
To the good people of Wyoming, I thank you for sharing Mike with us for a couple dozen years.
 
He was a guiding light here in the United States Senate.
 
He worked effectively to find common ground and bridge the partisan divide for the public good.
 
Mike practiced, by word and deed, the mission statement he created for his office: Do what is right. Do our best. And treat others as they wish to be treated.
 
In his farewell speech, he told us about the “80 percent tool” as an effective way to govern. Mike was a pragmatist.
 
He understood good laws aren’t made with a sledgehammer.
 
It takes craftsmanship, consensus and commonsense.
 
As Mike said, focus on 80 percent of an issue where we can find agreement and discard the other 20 percent.
 
Today, as Congress seeks to reach consensus on a host of important issues, we would do well to follow Mike’s advice.
 
We need more of that bipartisan buy-in that Mike brought from Wyoming to Washington.
 
I was honored to partner on so many bread-and-butter issues that had a direct impact on hardworking families, farmers, bread winners and small businesses.
 
As many of you know, I help run our family farm in New Hartford, Iowa.
 
Mike started and ran a family-owned shoe store in Gillette, Wyoming.
 
Meeting payroll, paying bills and making ends meet informed in each of us a philosophy about government spending and conservative management of taxpayer money.
 
As disciples of fiscal discipline, we evangelized, caucused and fought together to hold the line on reckless spending.
 
Too many people in Washington forget taxpayer dollars don’t grow on trees. It’s the people’s money.
 
Mike knew how to crunch numbers and watch over the federal purse better than all of us.
He was an accountant and put his expertise to work as Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
 
He held the federal bureaucracy to account and kept Congress accountable to the American people.
 
Reelected by wide margins, Mike relished retail politics and fought for small businesses and retailers at the policymaking tables.
 
Barbara and I traveled to Gillette to attend a political event with Mike and Diana.
 
The feeling in the crowd was insightful; the Enzis are beloved in Wyoming.
 
Mike kept in touch with the grassroots, traveling Wyoming as extensively as I travel to every corner of Iowa.
 
However, he always made time to foster relationships with his friends, former staff and, of course, his family.
 
I don’t often socialize in Washington but I made an exception for Mike.
 
I joined the Enzis weekly Tortilla Coast dinner when I could. And my wife, Barbara, joined every chance she had.
 
On each senator’s birthday, Mike would write a long heartfelt birthday note with a personal P.S.
 
I looked forward to reading his birthday wish every year.
 
There was always a piece of advice or a challenge for the year ahead.
 
Mike was humble, approachable and respected by all.
 
He was a true friend of the Senate.
 
I recall these parting words from the gentle giant of Gillette: “I like being a senator, not for the title, not for the recognition and certainly not for publicity. I like solving federal problems for Wyoming people. I like doing legislation.”
 
And Mike did just that.
 
Barbara and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Diana.
 
May God bless Mike, a faithful servant of the Lord.
 

And may He bring you and your family peace and comfort today and always.