Orrin Hatch on Budget & Economy

Republican Sr Senator (UT)


Re-elect me and I'll chair the Senate Finance Committee

Liljenquist went after Hatch's longevity in the Senate, which Hatch hailed as invaluable for Utah because of the experience and seniority he has gained. "Sen. Hatch and his generation of politicians have presided over the biggest run-up in debt in the history of mankind. They have voted repeatedly to increase the debt ceiling. They have voted to expand entitlements we couldn't afford," Liljenquist said.

Hatch called himself the likely chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee where 60% of all federal spending is considered. He said with Romney as president and "if I take over as chairman, we're going to get these matters under control one way or the other.

"It's time for new leaders in the Senate, Liljenquist said. "I am running, senator, because you could become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, not in spite of it," he said.

Source: KSL Radio coverage of 2012 Utah Senate debates , Jun 16, 2012

Accused of "fiscal child abuse" by leaving debt for future

Liljenquist said Hatch has spent a future generation's worth of wealth, foisting the tax burden on a "whole bunch of Americans" who didn't have the chance to vote for him. "That is fiscal child abuse and that's what has happened in Congress under your watch," he said.

The comment clearly rankled Hatch. "Let me get this straight. Apparently, I'm responsible for everything that's wrong in government. That's total b.s. and everybody knows it," the six-term senator said.

For his one question, Liljenquist asked Hatch if he felt responsible in any way for the national debt.

"Frankly, no," Hatch replied. "I led the fight against the debt from day one. And I'm offended that you keep bringing it up like I'm responsible for all the things that are wrong in America. How about the things that are right--am I responsible for those, too?" Hatch complained that it has been difficult to fight federal spending because in the Senate "we've been in the minority the whole time I've been there."

Source: KSL Radio coverage of 2012 Utah Senate debates , Jun 16, 2012

My 36 years in Senate could make me Finance Committee chair

The three GOP US Senate candidates agreed on almost every question: federal spending is out of control, power needs to be ceded back to the states, amnesty is not the solution to illegal immigration and the US should not rely on Russia to get astronauts into space.

Their key disagreement, however, had more to do with chronology than ideology. Challengers Chris Herrod and Dan Liljenquist argued that incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch's 36 years in Washington had made him partly responsible for the nation's problems, while Hatch emphatically countered that his time in the Senate made him uniquely positioned as an agent for change.

Hatch frequently referred to his position in the Senate Finance Committee--he would chair the committee if Republicans gained a majority of the Senate in November--and presented himself as part of a 2-man reform team with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. "The finance committee is where it's all at," Hatch said. "Mitt knows it, I know it and he wants me there.

Source: Deseret News on 2012 Utah Senate debate , May 4, 2012

My balanced budget bill failed by only one vote

Candidate Liljenquist asked Hatch what he had been doing in the Senate Finance Committee in terms of curbing the deficit."What's going to be different next time?" Liljenquist asked.

Hatch answered that for most of his time in the Senate, the finance committee had been chaired by Democrat senators. He also pointed to his record of co-authoring the balanced budget amendment, a cause that he has brought to the Senate floor 13 times and twice, he said, came within one vote of passage. "Had we passed that amendment we wouldn't be in the awful state we are today," Hatch said. "Some of us really do work hard to get this country out of the doldrums."

Liljenquist, however, described Hatch's work with the balanced budget amendment as hypocritical. He said Hatch had voted for a number of bills that added to the national debt, specifically dealing with Medicaid. "You can't hold up the balanced budget in one hand and then hold up legislation that makes it impossible in the other," Liljenquist said.

Source: Deseret News on 2012 Utah Senate debate , May 4, 2012

OpEd: Federal debt increased rapidly on his watch

Hatch emphasized the importance of his congressional seniority, especially the power he has over the federal budget as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. He made it clear that losing his influence in Washington will significantly hamper efforts to balance the budget and open the state's public lands to oil and natural gas exploration. "I'll be effective on Day One. I know what to do because experience really does count," Hatch said. "I'm a tough old bird. If you give me one more term, I will make a difference."

The two challengers, however, said Hatch has served in Washington during a time when the federal debt increased rapidly and the powers of the executive branch expanded significantly. "It's one thing to say that you think Congress should have a say, but when you're in Congress, you have to demand that Congress have a say," his opponent Liljenquist said.

Source: Deseret News coverage of 2012 Utah Senate Debate , Apr 17, 2012

More $ for defense, research, Ag, Education, police

Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Balance the budget; but high priority to all spending

Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Prosperity based on Reagan’s tax cuts plus balanced budget

Q: What is the best domestic policy you have seen in your career? A: The best policy that I’ve seen is when Reagan brought about a revolution because he reduced marginal tax rates from 70% down to 28% by 1986. That’s what’s been driving this economy ever since. Plus the fight for the balanced budget amendment, which I led since then. Plus the appointment of Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin. Plus Congress has enforced a balanced budget on the American people.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Bankruptcy has too many loopholes & costs society

Under the Bankruptcy Reform Act, if people are able to repay their debts, they will be required to do so. We must restore personal responsibility to the bankruptcy system. If we fail to do so, every family in America - many of whom struggle to make ends meet - will continue to shoulder the financial burden of those who abuse the system. The current bankruptcy system contains too many loopholes, making it easy for bad actors to “game” the system and avoid paying their debts.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 15, 1999

No Chapter 7 bankruptcy for people with assets & income

Current laws allow some people who have the ability to repay some or much of what they owe to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where they can liquidate their assets and discharge all debt, while protecting certain assets from liquidation, irrespective of their income. Hence some debtors use bankruptcy as a financial planning tool, rather than as a last resort. I firmly believe that the complete extinguishing of debt should, absent extraordinary circumstances, be reserved for debtors who cannot repay it.
Source: senate.gov/~hatch “Statements” , Apr 15, 1999

Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. LEWIS (D, GA-5): This bipartisan bill will provide the necessary funds to keep important transportation projects operating in States around the country. The Highway Trust Fund will run out of funding by September. We must act, and we must act now.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. CAMP (R, MI-4): [This interim spending is] needed because the Democrats' economic policy has resulted in record job loss, record deficits, and none of the job creation they promised. Democrats predicted unemployment would top out at 8% if the stimulus passed; instead, it's 9.5% and rising. In Michigan, it's above 15%. The Nation's public debt and unemployment, combined, has risen by a shocking 40% [because of] literally trillions of dollars in additional spending under the Democrats' stimulus, energy, and health plans.

We had a choice when it came to the stimulus last February. We could have chosen a better policy of stimulating private-sector growth creating twice the jobs at half the price. That was the Republican plan. Instead, Democrats insisted on their government focus plan, which has produced no jobs and a mountain of debt.

Reference: Omnibus Appropriations Act Amendment; Bill H.R. 3357 ; vote number 2009-S254 on Jul 30, 2009

Voted YES on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures.

Congressional Summary:Amends federal bankruptcy law to exclude debts secured by the debtor's principal residence that was either sold in foreclosure or surrendered to the creditor.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. PETER WELCH (D, VT-0): Citigroup supports this bill. Why? They're a huge lender. They understand that we have to stabilize home values in order to begin the recovery, and they need a tool to accomplish it. Mortgages that have been sliced and diced into 50 different sections make it impossible even for a mortgage company and a borrower to come together to resolve the problem that they share together.

Sen. DICK DURBIN (D, IL): 8.1 million homes face foreclosure in America today. Last year, I offered this amendment to change the bankruptcy law, and the banking community said: Totally unnecessary. In fact, the estimates were of only 2 million homes in foreclosure last year. America is facing a crisis.

Opponent's argument to vote No:

Sen. JON KYL (R, AZ): This amendment would allow bankruptcy judges to modify home mortgages by lowering the principal and interest rate on the loan or extending the term of the loan. The concept in the trade is known as cram-down. It would apply to all borrowers who are 60 days or more delinquent. Many experts believe the cram-down provision would result in higher interest rates for all home mortgages. We could end up exacerbating this situation for all the people who would want to refinance or to take out loans in the future.

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R, MN-6): Of the foundational policies of American exceptionalism, the concepts that have inspired our great Nation are the sanctity of private contracts and upholding the rule of law. This cramdown bill crassly undercuts both of these pillars of American exceptionalism. Why would a lender make a 30-year loan if they fear the powers of the Federal Government will violate the very terms of that loan?

Reference: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act; Bill HR1106&S896 ; vote number 2009-S185 on May 6, 2009

Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package.

Congressional Summary:Supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): This country is facing what most economists consider to be the most serious and the most dangerous economic situation in our lifetimes. This package today is an $825 billion package that does a variety of things to try to reinflate the economy:

  1. creating or saving at least 4 million jobs
  2. rebuilding our basic infrastructure
  3. providing for job retraining for those workers who need to learn new skills
  4. moving toward energy independence
  5. improving our healthcare system so all Americans can have access to quality treatment
  6. providing tax cuts to lessen the impact of this crisis on America's working families.

Opponent's argument to vote No:

Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-51): Most of us would agree that the recent $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is an illustration of how good intentions don't always deliver desired results. When Congress spends too much too quickly, it doesn't think through the details and oversight becomes more difficult. The lesson learned from TARP was this: we cannot manage what we do not measure. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

Sen. THAD COCHRAN (R, MS): We are giving the executive branch immense latitude in the disbursement of the spending this bill contains. We are doing so without any documentation of how this spending will stimulate the economy. Normally, this kind of information would be contained in an administration budget. For items that have a short-term stimulative effect, most of us will feel comfortable debating their merits as an emergency measure. But there is a great deal of spending that is not immediately stimulative.

Reference: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; Bill H.R.1 ; vote number 2009-S061 on Feb 10, 2009

Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy.

Congressional Summary:
    Supplemental appropriations for:
  1. Infrastructure Investments: Transportation: DOT, FAA, AMTRAK, and FTA
  2. Clean Water (EPA)
  3. Flood Control and Water Resources (ACE)
  4. 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities (ED)
  5. Energy Development (DOE)
  6. Extension of Unemployment Compensation and Job Training
  7. Temporary Increase in Medicaid Matching Rate
  8. Temporary Increase in Food Assistance

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. DAVID OBEY (D, WI-7): Congress has tried to do a number of things that would alleviate the squeeze on the middle class. Meanwhile, this economy is sagging. Jobs, income, sales, and industrial production have all gone down. We have lost 600,000 jobs. We are trying to provide a major increase in investments to modernize our infrastructure and to provide well-paying construction jobs at the same time.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JERRY LEWIS (R, CA-41): Just 2 days ago we were debating an $800 billion continuing resolution. Now in addition to being asked to pay for a bailout for Wall Street, taxpayers are being asked to swallow an additional $60 billion on a laundry list of items I saw for the first time just a few hours ago. The Democratic majority is describing this legislation as a "stimulus package" to help our national economy. But let's not fool ourselves. This is a political document pure and simple. If these priorities are so important, why hasn't this bill gone through the normal legislative process? We should have debated each of the items included in this package.

It doesn't take an economist to tell you that the economy needs our help. But what does this Congress do? It proposes to spend billions more without any offsets in spending. The failure to adhere to PAYGO means that this new spending will be financed through additional borrowing, which will prove a further drag on our struggling economy.

Reference: Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act; Bill S.3604&HR7110 ; vote number 2008-S206 on Sep 26, 2008

Voted YES on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness.

Amendment intends to pay down the Federal debt and eliminate government waste by reducing spending on programs rated ineffective by the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

My amendment says we are going to take about $18 billion as a strong signal from the Congress that we want to support effective programs and we want the taxpayer dollars spent in a responsible way. My amendment doesn't take all of the $88 billion for the programs found by PART, realizing there may be points in time when another program is not meeting its goals and needs more money. So that flexibility is allowed in this particular amendment. It doesn't target any specific program. Almost worse than being rated ineffective, we have programs out there that have made absolutely no effort at all to measure their results. I believe these are the worst offenders. In the following years, I hope Congress will look at those programs to create accountability.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The effect of this amendment will simply be to cut domestic discretionary spending $18 billion. Understand the programs that have been identified in the PART program are results not proven. Here are programs affected: Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, child abuse prevention, and treatment. If there is a problem in those programs, they ought to be fixed. We ought not to be cutting Border Patrol, Coast Guard search and rescue, high-intensity drug trafficking areas, LIHEAP, rural education, and the rest. I urge a "no" vote.

Reference: Allard Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.491 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-090 on Mar 22, 2007

Voted YES on $40B in reduced federal overall spending.

Vote to pass a bill that reduces federal spending by $40 billion over five years by decreasing the amount of funds spent on Medicaid, Medicare, agriculture, employee pensions, conservation, and student loans. The bill also provides a down-payment toward hurricane recovery and reconstruction costs.
Reference: Work, Marriage, and Family Promotion Reconciliation Act; Bill S. 1932 ; vote number 2005-363 on Dec 21, 2005

Voted YES on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts.

Vote to table [kill] an amendment that would increase the amount of the budget that would be used to reduce the national debt by $75 billion over 5 year. The debt reduction would be offset by reducing the tax cut in the budget framework from $150 billion
Reference: Bill S Con Res 101 ; vote number 2000-55 on Apr 5, 2000

Voted YES on 1998 GOP budget.

Approval of the 1998 GOP Budget which would cut spending and taxes.
Status: CR Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: H. Con. Res. 84 as amended; Bill H. Con. Res. 84 ; vote number 1997-92 on May 23, 1997

Voted YES on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment.

Approval of the balanced-budget constitutional amendment.
Status: Joint Resolution Defeated Y)66; N)34
Reference: S. J. Res. 1; Bill S. J. Res. 1 ; vote number 1997-24 on Mar 4, 1997

Supports the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge.

Hatch signed the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge to limit government

[The Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge is sponsored by a coalition of several hundred Tea Party, limited-government, and conservative organizations].

Despite our nation's staggering $14.4 trillion debt, there are many Members of the U.S. House and Senate who want to raise our nation's debt limit without making permanent reforms in our fiscal policies. We believe that this is a fiscally irresponsible position that would place America on the Road to Ruin. At the same time, we believe that the current debate over raising the debt limit provides a historic opportunity to focus public attention, and then public policy, on a path to a balanced budget and paying down our debt.

We believe that the "Cut, Cap, Balance" plan for substantial spending cuts in FY 2012, a statutory spending cap, and Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is the minimum necessary precondition to raising the debt limit. The ultimate goal is to get us back to a point where increases in the debt limit are no longer necessary. If you agree, take the Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge!

    I pledge to urge my Senators and Member of the House of Representatives to oppose any debt limit increase unless all three of the following conditions have been met:
  1. Cut: Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
  2. Cap: Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
  3. Balance: Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.
Source: Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge 12-CCB on Jan 1, 2012

Disapprove of increasing the debt limit.

Hatch co-sponsored Joint Resolution on Debt Limit

Congressional Summary:JOINT RESOLUTION: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That Congress disapproves of the President's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted on Jan. 12, 2012.

Congressional Vote: Vote #4 in the House: 239 Yeas; 176 Nays; Senate declined to vote on the Resolution.

OnTheIssues Explanation: On Jan. 12, 2012, Pres. Obama notified Congress of his intent to raise the nation's debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion, two weeks after he had postponed the request to give lawmakers more time to consider the action. Congress then had 15 days to say no before the debt ceiling is automatically raised from $15.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion. Hence the debt ceiling was increased.

In Aug. 2011, the US government was nearly shut down by an impasse over raising the debt ceiling; under an agreement reached then, the President could raise the debt limit in three increments while also implementing $2.4 trillion in budget cuts. The agreement also gave Congress the option of voting to block each of the debt-ceiling increases by passing a "resolution of disapproval." The House disapproved; the Senate, by declining to vote in the 15-day window, killed the Resolution. Even if the resolution were passed, Pres. Obama could veto it; which could be overridden by a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate. The House vote only had 57% approval, not enough for the 67% override requirement, so the Senate vote became moot. The same set of actions occurred in Sept. 2011 for the first debt ceiling increase.

Source: HJRes.98/SJRes34 12-SJR34 on Jan 23, 2012

Audit the Federal Reserve & its actions on mortgage loans.

Hatch co-sponsored Federal Reserve Transparency Act

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act directs: