Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show

Published: Saturday, June 16 2012 10:49 a.m. MDT

Orrin Hatch: Well, let me get this straight. In listening to Dan, you think that I've caused all the problems back there and all the spending problems that have occurred, I'm apparently getting blamed for them. Well just this morning, the American Conservative Union, the number one rater of Conservatives in all of this country, endorsed me. They did it because I have a 90 percent American Conservative Union voting record for, frankly, the whole time I've been in the United States Senate. Now, let me just be frank about it. I fought my whole Senate service for the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment. We once passed it, back in the Reagan years. Then Tip O'Neill and the Democrats killed it. We got it through the Senate. Twice I got it within one vote. The last time was in 1997. Had we passed it then, we wouldn't be in this mess today. No, Dan. To be honest with you, I've been there in the trenches fighting and I'm still going to continue to fight, but we just got to get enough Republicans so that we can really take the fight to them and beat them. And we're going to. It's just that simple. And as Chairman of the Finance Committee, or even Republican leader on the Finance Committee, I have a lot of say from here on in as to what we can do, and if Mitt Romney is President, let me tell you something, there's no end to the good that we can do and that's why he's endorsed me. So, you know, I would not blame the Conservative Republicans for the mess we're in today. We fought very, very hard to try and get things under control. We've been in a minority the whole time I've been there.

Doug Wright: And your 30-second rebuttal.

Dan Liljenquist: That is simply not true.

Orrin Hatch: Sure is.

Dan Liljenquist: You had the majority in 2003, when you and the Senate Finance Committee had the Senate, the House and the President and voted to pass Medicare Part D, which added $16 trillion of long term debt to this country. It was your bill with Ted Kennedy that created National Children's Healthcare $100 billion entitlement program. Those programs, are the programs we're struggling to pay for, and you shifted it on the generation of Americans.

Doug Wright: We have another question, this time focused on Senator Hatch, from the same writer quoting from your site, Website Issues. "We must cut back on the dangerous spending habits of the federal government. I've always maintained that we don't have a revenue problem in this country, we have a spending problem. The only way to reverse this fiscal train wreck is to reign in Washington's out of control expenditures." The question, from John, is, "Senator Hatch, you've been in office for 36 years. Why would we think that a change would occur in the next six years? It didn't just start three and a half years ago, the problems with President Obama."

Orrin Hatch: First of all, we have to have Mitt Romney as President of the United States because it takes presidential leadership. Secondly, as Chairman of the Finance Committee where all of these problems are, I know what they are, I know how they can be handled, I've handled many in the past in various committees. Dan doesn't seem to understand that for all of the years that I've served, we've always had three to six liberal Republicans who go with the all liberal Democrats on spending issues and that's where, the mistake that, he makes a mistake in trying to make his case. But to make a long story short, I believe that the only way we're going to get this under control is to get a really strong President and to rally our Republicans. Even the Democrats are impressed that I'm the leader on the Senate Finance Committee and we've gotten a lot done since I've been leading on the Senate Finance Committee. Three free trade agreements, and I can name a whole bunch of other things that we're in the process of doing. They wouldn't have passed if I hadn't been ranking on that particular committee. Can you imagine what I could do as Chairman? Now, I think Senator Liljenquist has done a good job in the state legislature. You give me 75 percent control, Republican control of the Congress, and you're going to see changes you never believed possible. That's what he had to work with up in the state legislature and the State Senate and I think 87 percent with regard to the House of Representatives. I think he did a good job, but that doesn't mean, as a freshman senator, he's gonna come back there and have the ability to be able to change these things and make a difference right off the bat that I do have.

Doug Wright: And former State Senator Liljenquist, your chance to respond.

Dan Liljenquist: Senator was it those liberal Republicans that forced you to vote for Medicare Part D? That forced you to vote and resurrect the Hillary-care, which you passed with Ted Kennedy and the CHIP program? Were those people who forced you to vote? If they have that much power, boy those are really awfully powerful senators. It is your votes I'm talking about. It is your votes that led to this, the 16 times you raised the debt ceiling, it's your vote, voting for the bridge to nowhere and programs, your own cylinder-in, Raser Technologies pushing for subsidies for green energy programs, those are the votes I'm concerned about. I'm not talking about the main liberals or other people. I'm talking about your votes, and if you're saying that people are forcing you to vote because these people have that much power over you, that's one thing. I'm asking about your votes.

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