McConnell Honors Departing Senior Advisor Jane Lee

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Jane Lee :

“The pressing matters I discussed at the beginning of my remarks suggest I could not find a more appropriate time to honor the sterling staff expert who has advised me on budget issues and appropriations for five-plus years.

“But in another sense, it pains me to say, there couldn’t be a worse time!

“Because the occasion for this tribute is that Jane Lee is soon taking leave of the Senate and taking the next step in her career.

“Jane arrived in my office with a big job to do, but the perfect skill set to do it.

“She studied at a couple of schools called Stanford and Columbia. She’d worked in the private sector, risen through the ranks at OMB during the Bush 43 Administration, worked for a House Budget Chairman named Paul Ryan, and held leading roles with Senate Appropriations and the Republican Whip Senator Cornyn.

“Jane’s resume was impeccable. Her references — unimpeachable.

“She was already a force of nature on Capitol Hill. So my expectations were high from the start.

“But for about five and a half years, day in and day out, through a never-ending catalog of serious challenges, Jane kept raising the bar higher and higher.

“Jane’s colleagues throughout the Senate admire her determination and dogged focus. She is methodical and meticulous. She grasps both the big political picture and the finest policy details much more capably than most people could hope to grasp either.

“When you handle budget talks and funding negotiations for a leadership office, you are a kind of hybrid player-coach to offices and committees all across the Senate. Jane is a skilled leader. She can get a diverse team driving towards a goal with warmth and good humor but also tenacity and total professionalism.

“For countless major, bipartisan, bicameral compromise bills over the past five years, Jane has been one of the very last staff experts on either side holding the pen.

“She’s a principled fighter, but once negotiations concluded, everyone on both sides trusted Jane to be an honorable and honest broker. That speaks volumes.

“Earlier this week, one of Jane’s colleagues remarked simply: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever worked with someone like Jane.’ This turns out to be a universal consensus. Her knowledge and her instincts 

spill outside her portfolio and make everyone better. The high standards to which she holds herself are infectious.

“She marshals the knowledge and the relationships that come with many years of government service… but also inexhaustible earnestness, energy, and enthusiasm for the fray.

“Jane is exactly the kind of person you would hope to find in government.

“Just the kind of worker a Senate office is lucky to find, and just the sort of public servant the country deserves.

“I don’t think anyone would be terribly surprised if, one day, the Senate finds itself refamiliarizing ourselves with Jane’s qualifications… in a formal capacity.

“I have to note that Jane would hasten to redirect all this praise toward her parents Michael and Jean, as well as her grandmother Hee Soon. She is a proud daughter of first-generation Americans and small-business entrepreneurs whose love of country and commitment to hard work have shaped their daughter’s life at every step.

“At clutch moments, these qualities have benefitted not just me, not just our conference, but our country.

“Today, one such time especially stands out in my memory.

“A year and a half ago, COVID thrust our country into a health crisis and an economic crisis at the same time. During the bipartisan scramble that built the historic CARES Act, Jane, our Swiss army knife, wound up as my liaison to the Small Business Committee.

“She poured herself into helping Senators set up, preserve, and protect the landmark Paycheck Protection Program that saved a huge number of jobs and countless small businesses exactly like the one she grew up watching her parents manage.

“But while Jane’s commitment to her work has been peerless, her commitment to her family is greater still. Her beloved husband Tom, her son Mitchell, and her parents and grandmother need to see more of her than her bottomless Senate portfolio has often permitted.

“So while the whole institution will sorely miss her, we also join her in celebrating the new adventures to come.

“So, Madam President… to our incredibly competent budget expert, our cherished colleague, and one of the Senate’s most talented jazz and rock-and-roll singers… 

“We say not just farewell and good luck…

“But ‘brava!’ — on a simply outstanding performance.”