Utah Sen. Mike Lee says Thursday’s meeting with President Barack Obama resembled more of a lecture, making it easy to see why a grand bargain on budget issues remains difficult.
“We exchanged our views. I don’t think we learned anything new. We know his position and he knew ours. It felt like a press conference without the press, but it was a nice gesture for him to come over,” he said in an interview at CPAC 2013 with Newsmax TV.
Speaking on the budget introduced by Senate Democrats, Lee said the only thing that surprised him was how much additional revenue Democrats are seeking.
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“The budget produced by Patti Murray and Democrats surprised me in the sense that I thought by time we had $1.7 trillion in tax increases, that would be enough. I would ask how much is enough and why they feel the need now to add a trillion dollar tax increase,” he said.
Lee, who participated in last week’s filibuster on the government’s use of drones, said he believed the filibuster showed there’s a lot of positive energy within the Republican Party.
“I got the news he was filibustering and shortly thereafter informed staff I would go and help Rand. I had no idea it would become as high profile and receive as many accolades as it did,” Lee said. “There is certainly new energy and I think it’s a turning point.”
Speaking on continuing efforts to defund and overturn the Affordable Care Act, Lee believes it’s important to hold Congress accountable for votes, particularly given the fact that many Americans oppose the law.
“Nancy Pelosi famously told House you have to pass this bill to find what’s in it. We need to keep members on record as to whether they approve of the wholesale implementation of this law,” Lee said. “Ideally, the goal is to defund it, but at least we get people on record saying they support it even though it will raise health cost and take decisions out of the hands of patients.”
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