Utah Sen. Hatch: Democrats ‘Sending This Country into Bankruptcy’

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 09:44 PM

By Todd Beamon and Kathleen Walter

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Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch declared in an exclusive Newsmax TV interview that “Republicans are sick and tired of the way we’re sending this country into bankruptcy — and the Democrats don’t seem to want to do anything about it.

“They just want tax increases so they can spend more,” the GOP’s senior senator tells Newsmax. “They talk in terms of deficit reduction. Where? Show me where it is. Show me how. It’s not good.

“Maybe the Senate Democratic Caucus should have a meeting and figure out what they want to do instead of deploying the spaghetti-on-the-wall strategy. They’re in charge. It’s time for them to come up with a plan for dealing with the sequester that’s real — but I’m afraid that’s not what they’re about.”

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Hatch, 78, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee, was first elected in 1976. He is the author of “An American, A Mormon and A Christian: What I Believe.”

Story continues below the video.




On Capitol Hill on Thursday, Hatch voted against suspending the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling until May, even though the full Senate approved the legislation. The deciding vote came after several failed votes on Republican-backed amendments that would have cut federal spending.

“It’s a fiscal situation that our nation is facing right now. It’s very real. It’s very substantial. What’s driving this unsustainable debt? To me it’s simple: It’s our entitlement programs. We’ve got to get serious about this.

“I just believe that we’ve got to get real about it — and I felt like today’s exercise was not a step down the road to try to solve these problems but just another delay,” Hatch says.

Further, Senate Democrats are not going to approve a plan to avoid the $69 million in automatic spending cuts scheduled to take place in March under sequestration.

“I’m not sure we’re going to avoid the sequester,” he says. “Most Republicans are starting to feel that maybe any way we can nip some reductions in spending is better than none at all. I don’t want to go through sequester. I’d like to avoid it.”

Earlier this week, Hatch was among another bipartisan group of senators to introduce a second plan for immigration reform, primarily dealing with foreign-born workers with special skills. These workers — trained in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics — are desperately needed by American companies.

“We continue to send these foreign students back to their home countries after graduation despite the jobs available here — despite the fact that they have Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and Ph.D.s,” Hatch says.

“It’s critical that we not only recognize this shortage of high-skilled workers but also understand why it exists. There is a whole rash of U.S. companies that have a great need for these people. There are not enough Americans trained and ready to fill these jobs.”

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

Hatch says he needs, however, to see the legislation coming out of the immigration-reform plan announced this week by the “Gang of Eight” senators, which also includes Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The first-term Republican senator also helped shape the plan put forth by Hatch’s group.

“I’m a great believer that we need to revamp our immigration laws. I’m not for amnesty, but I am for finding a pathway to citizenship. The way you do that is we, first, find out who wants to stay in this country and become a citizen, then we look at the problem that exists that they violated our law, then we have to establish the rule of law so that somehow they have to abide by the law, and then we need to get them on a pathway to citizenship — but they have to go to the back of the line.

“Why would we jump them ahead of people who honestly stood in line and abided by our rules of law?” Hatch asks. “But I’m wary of the left and what they’ll do. That’s why you’ve got to see the language. They always try to pull something on you at the last minute.”

And that may well be including provisions for same-sex couples, which has been mentioned as a possible part of any immigration plan coming from President Obama.

“There’s a difference between being fair to gay people, which I am, and changing our concept of marriage. That’s where I draw the line. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t find some way of accommodation — civil unions or something so that gays are treated fairly. I don’t want to be an impediment to fair treatment.

“But marriage is an institution that I don’t think should be changed just because those in the gay community and those who support them want to change it,” Hatch adds. “We have rules in this country, legal rules that really are valid and ought to be followed, but I sure as heck draw the line when it comes to the definition of marriage.”

Turning to the issue of gun control, Hatch says the proposal California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein put forth last week has “pretty slim” chances of becoming law.

“They’re not going to get her ideas through the House. I like Dianne Feinstein, but I can’t support what she’s talking about. And, frankly, I get a little tired of the way people are constantly criticizing the National Rifle Association.

“When you look at the hundreds of thousands of people that they’ve taught the proper use and care of guns to, they ought to be given a lot of credit for what they’re trying to do. It’s amazing how the left continuously wants to do away with our right to keep and bear arms, because some of these people are clearly emotionally unbalanced,” he adds, referring to the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn.

“And, yet, where is the same desire to get the violent video games that these kids play all day long? Or to get violence in our movies under control? Or get our television under control? Where’s the desire to do those types of things?

“There are some gun groups that aren’t worthy of support in any way, shape, or form — but the NRA is a responsible group that trains hundreds of thousands of people on the proper use of weapons. And it’s one of the real liberty provisions in the Constitution.”

He adds that, while he knows and likes Chuck Hagel, he is not sure whether he can support the former Nebraska Republican for Defense Secretary.

“There are some things that bother me. I’d like to support the former senator, especially one who has been on our side, if I can.”

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

And he hopes former Chief of Staff Jack Lew, whom Obama has nominated as Treasury Secretary, proves to be more than just being one of many “yes men” the president surrounds himself with. Lew faces confirmation hearings before the Finance Committee.

“We’re just in the process of looking at Jack Lew,” Hatch says. “I just want to be fair. I want to be decent, but I also want people in these positions who aren’t just yes men to the president.” He adds that, given many of the White House’s failing economic policies, an incoming Treasury Secretary should be willing to step down rather than “just go along with a bunch of loony economic ideas.”


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