For several hours Friday morning it appeared that Utah's senators, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Sen. Mike Lee, had split ways on the debt-ceiling debate roiling through Congress.
However, Hatch's office clarified later in the day that despite comments Hatch made on cable television the six-term senator still remains completely in agreement with Lee on all issues related to raising the debt ceiling before the federal government enters default Aug. 2.
In an interview on Fox Business Network, Hatch told hosts Dagen McDowell and Connell McShane, "I suspect there will be a short-term debt limit lift — and I'm certainly for it."
Throughout 2011, Lee has stayed steadfast in saying he will resort to filibuster tactics if a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution isn't a part of any proposed mechanism for raising the debt ceiling. Lee's Cut, Cap and Balance Act proposed earlier this month would satisfy that criteria.
Thus, Hatch's support of "a short-term debt limit lift" would appear to be at odds with Lee's non-negotiable, Constitutional-amendment-or-filibuster approach. But not so fast, Hatch operatives cautioned, because Hatch remains a steadfast supporter of the cut-cap-balance approach — and they point to comments he made Friday on the Senate floor as proof of Hatch's full fidelity to pursuing a Cut, Cap and Balance solution.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeded Friday in tabling the House's version of Cut, Cap and Balance by a vote along party lines of 51-46. After the vote, Hatch spoke on the Senate floor.
"(People) know what the solution is — Cut, Cap, Balance and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution," Hatch said. "There will be talk now about moving on. But I am not moving on. Democrats want to write the obituary on this bill and turn to some new plan or framework of the President's. … The people have decided — they want Cut, Cap, Balance and I've told them that the only way I would ever vote to raise the debt ceiling is if it's enacted. The only way."
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