Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Congress needs to get its act together and return to regular order, in particular because it is dealing with an "often poorly informed" and "impulsive" President Trump.
"[Our system of government] requires pragmatic problem-solving from even the most passionate partisans," McCain said in an op-ed for the Washington Post. "It relies on compromise between opposing sides to protect the interests we share. We can fight like hell for our ideas to prevail. But we have to respect each other or at least respect the fact that we need each other."
"That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct," he wrote.
But he lamented that so far, Congress is proving itself incapable of tackling Congress's difficult but "routine duties."
McCain conceded that lawmakers must respect Trump's "authority and constitutional responsibility" and should cooperate with him, but said Congress answers only to the American people, not Trump.
"We are not his subordinates. We don't answer to him. We answer to the American people," McCain wrote. "We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation."
When the Senate was debating a bill overhauling the healthcare system, McCain returned to Washington, D.C., following a brain cancer diagnosis and delivered a speech urging lawmakers to return to regular order, under which committees of jurisdiction draft legislation, and the full Senate debates and amends it.
Now, with Congress facing a full legislative agenda when it returns next week, McCain said it's time for lawmakers to heed his call as they start working on a budget, tax reform, infrastructure, and border security.
"These are all opportunities to show that ordinary, decent, free people can govern competently, respectfully and humbly, and to prove the value of the United States Congress to the great nation we serve," McCain said.