Washington (CNN) - House members took a quick break from partisan attacks Friday to salute one of their own - Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, whose last day in Congress is February 28.
After voting to cut billions from this year's budget, members made a slightly awkward turn to say goodbye to the long-time congresswoman, who celebrated bipartisanship in her remarks.
"As a life-long, passionate bipartisan-in-my-bones Democrat, I have been criticized by both sides," Harman said. "But the center is where, in my view, most Americans are and where in many cases the best policy answers are."
Harman quit her job in Congress to become president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank that had been led by former Rep. Lee Hamilton. She said the timing of her last day would allow the state of California to fold the special election to fill her seat into a statewide referendum later in the year.
Fellow Californian and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined other members to laud Harman in floor speeches. The two powerful lawmakers had frequently butted heads, and Pelosi prevented Harman from ascending to chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Democrats took power in 2006.
After Harman received a standing ovation and hugs from the members still gathered in the House chamber, Congress returned to the task at hand - debating which party would win the fight to steer the economy.