Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Following is a transcript of a KSL Radio debate between candidate Dan Liljenquist and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. The debate was held Friday. Liljenquist and Hatch face a June 26 GOP primary. The winner will face Democrat Scott Howell, a former state senator, in the November general election.
Doug Wright: A warm welcome to the Doug Wright show today. Special hour today — we have blown out all the commercials. We have cleared the decks because today is the day for the debate between Dan Liljenquist and Orrin Hatch. I greatly appreciate both of our guests clearing their schedules and making their time available. I'm glad we were able to hammer this out. Gentlemen, welcome. Dan Liljenquist, thank you for being here.
Dan Liljenquist: Great to be here, Doug.
Doug Wright: Orrin Hatch, thank you for being here as well.
Orrin Hatch: Good to see you, Doug. Nice to be with you.
Doug Wright: Just for our listeners knowledge here, we did toss a coin just a moment ago. Senator Hatch did win that coin toss which means he will get the first statement and the closing statement on the program. We will go back and forth with the questions. We'll give each of our candidates 90 seconds to respond and then we will have a 30-second rebuttal and that will flip back and forth. How you choose to use that time is pretty much up to you. I also wanted to indicate for our listeners that the questions, almost without exception, have been submitted and we have done a little distillation on some of them and combined some, but they have come from emailers and texters and it's been a very, very interesting, interesting group of questions and some have had many, many of our texters and emailers focused on one particular issues. So, we'll talk a bit about that as we go. So let's just kick things right off so we have as much time as possible to deal with the questions. Orrin Hatch, since you won the coin toss we'll start with you. Here's your two minutes.
Orrin Hatch: Well, thanks, Doug. I want to compliment you and Jim Lonsberry and the other people here at KSL for putting this on. This is a great experience for both of us and we appreciate it. Look, our country is at a crossroads. We're either going to go farther down or we're going to start picking up and going up. That's one reason why I'm working very, very hard as vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee all over the country to raise millions of dollars for our senate candidates because we have to have the senate and hopefully can maintain control of the house if we're going to get this country spending and this country's ways under control. So, I'm all over this country chatting and fighting for Mitt Romney. I believe he's the only person literally who can help bring this country right out of the midst and the doldrums it's in. But it's more than that, too. The reason I'm really running is not only to help Mitt but also to take over as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. I'm the Republican leader on the committee now. That's the committee where 60% of all of this, uh, bloated spending is going and frankly, that's where Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, that's where tax reform has to take place. Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are the entitlement programs and we've got to get it under control or our kids and grandkids aren't going to have a very good future. And even some of the seniors aren't going to have such a good future if we don't get things under control financially and otherwise. It is also the committee that handles all of the international trade and bonding and other financial issues. Literally 60% of the budget comes through that committee. It's a very, very important thing and it takes a long time to even get on the committee let alone become chairman. So that's why I'm running. I believe this country is the greatest country in the world. I know it is. I know we can pull out of the mess we're in. We're going to pull out of the mess we're in and I'm going to be there to help us do it.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch, thank you. And former state senator, Dan Liljenquist, your two minutes.
Dan Liljenquist: Thank you, Doug. Good to be with you and think you for all the listeners for listening in. Senator, good to be with you.
Orrin Hatch: Nice to be with you.
Dan Liljenquist: I am running for the United States Senate because it's time for new leaders in Washington, D.C. Senator 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 voted to expand entitlements that we couldn't afford. They voted to spend every penny of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds. They have given away billions and billions in wasteful earmarks to their own buddies and their own campaign contributors over the years and we have pushed ourselves into this crisis. I am running, Senator, because you could be chair of the Senate Finance Committee not in spite of it. In the 18 years on that Senate Finance Committee you have voted yourself to expand entitlements by trillions of dollars we couldn't spend. Look, we have got to have new leaders in Washington who are actually going to have to live through the next 40 years of this country who will do more than just talk about reforming. Now, I've launched my career in bank consulting. I spent my career in the private sector turning things around. I went to the state legislature with the intent to turn things around there. I focused on the two biggest financial issues we face in this state — in pensions and Medicaid reform — and we reformed those programs in ways that no other state in the country has done. Those reforms will save us billions of dollars over the years to come that we do not have. But it simply will not matter how well run Utah is, if we don't have people in Washington who will do what they've always said they're going to do and who will go back there and tackle these issues fearlessly and not just talk a good game when it's time for the next election. I will do that. Doug, I'm excited. This is the time. We are at a crossroads as a country and this crossroad requires new leaders.
Doug Wright: Gentlemen, I appreciate your opening (unintelligible) who asked that I ask both of you a question and we'll have the chance for both of you to respond to this. The luck of the draw has the first one going to Dan Liljenquist, and he actually quotes from your website. "It's time for bold new leadership, fiscal leadership. Our nation needs leaders who are willing to tell the American people the truth and who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. We need leaders who are willing to lay it all on the line, to take on the fundamental reforms crucial to our survival as a free and prosperous nation: welfare and entitlement reform." Here's the question: This statement is the same rhetoric and is repeated every election by every politician. There are no specifics on this. What makes a junior senator, and that's what you would be, feel like he can make any difference in six years, especially when we look at the track record of Mr. Mike Lee?
Dan Liljenquist: Well, listen. I look at my experience in the Utah legislature here. Doug, as a freshman, I took on issues that nobody had ever taken on: pensions and Medicaid. Now we talk about entitlement reform, we are literally the first state in the country to take an entitlement in Medicaid and pass legislation unanimously with my legislation last year to cap that program, to return it back to the state and that will save us $770 million in the first seven years alone and two and half billion in total funds within the first seven years. I have the record of actually doing something. Now the question is, let me turn that question back on that respondent, or person who sent that in. Do you trust somebody who's been there 36 years who hasn't done one thing to return back entitlement programs, or do you trust a young person who came in and was the first in the country to do that? Look. I have a record of doing that, of diving in. There's a whole new generation of leaders back in Washington, 49 new senators have been elected in the last seven years and ten more are returning over this year. These are the new leaders we're looking for and I'm excited to get back there with them.
Doug Wright: All right. Senator Hatch, your response.
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.
Orrin Hatch: Well, it's interesting. He talks about S-chips and he voted for the expansion of S-chips that I voted against. I mean, I don't think that's a fair comment. I might add, with regard to Utah companies, look, I'm shameless with regard to supporting Utah companies. And in the case of Raser Technologies, I didn't get any money for Raser Technologies. They got it on a competitive grant. It's a shame that it didn't work out, but we thought it might work out. They still have the car that we'll get somewhere close to 100 miles to the gallon. I just hope that they are successful. They're a Utah company. I tried to help them. No question.
Doug Wright: We have another question and this one came from one of our texters and this is addressed to both of you, as all of the questions will be. This one will go to Dan Liljenquist first. To both candidates, you, he capitalized that, what are you personally, and individually going to do to reverse this environment and then he gives both of your word of advice please do not blame the other side we have all heard that quite enough.
Dan Liljenquist: Doug, that is a huge frustration of mine and its a frustration I've gone on this campaign and said look, it's Republicans and Democrats who've got us into this mess you heard the senators quite remarkable statement right there where he just said that Raser Technology because it's Utah company I'm going to fight for them. But just months ago when Solyndra blew up and a $503 million loan from the federal government evaporated much like the loans to Raser evaporated, had Solyndra been a Utah company would you have fought for them too? Look, we are picking winners and losers in Congress with unproven business plans spending a generations worth of wealth of people who havent even been able to vote and it has been Republicans and Democrats its the hypocrisy of people who go back and point to the other side and point to other people when their own votes belie that fact and I look at that and I say that's what's wrong. Look Doug, in the state of Utah we got pensions and medicaid reform done and medicaid was unanimous because these issues are not partian issues they are reality issues and I went to every member of the legislature and worked with them individually to get their support.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: I think Dan did a good job on that, on the other hand, uh, he still left the problem of $4.6 billion that, uh, that is unfunded liability for those who are currently on pensions and there's no solution to that at least that I can see from the work that he's done. But be that as it may, I'll compliment him on that but look some of the Republicans have fought our hearts out to try and get spending under control, to do the things that are right I've led the balanced budget amendment fight I think some 24 times and even when we don't win it's worthwhile leading it because that means that Democrats and others who are against it have to stand up and vote and the American people can make their decisions there but I will always fight. I'm not gonna back down from fighting for Utah companies I would not have fought for Solyndra, that was a boondoggle and everyone knew it. In the case of Raser Technology it looked like they had a really excellent way of getting geo-thermal energy out of the ground and there's a lawsuit over it because they feel that the people who provided the equipment on that did not live up to their terms. But that was like a $30 million competitive grant that I had nothing to do with that I think my colleague seems to want to blame me for. Let me just say this, I fought for Utah, I fought for this country, I fought for balanced budget amendments, I fought to get spending under control, and I'll be in a position to really do it and that's why im running again and I think that's why a majority of people in Utah are going to support me.
Doug Wright: And your 30-second rebuttal.
Dan Liljenquist: Senator, you cannot hold the balanced budget amendment in one hand and wave it around and pass in the other hand bill after bill after bill that makes it impossible for my generation to balance that budget, you cannot do that. When you say we left liability on pensions left, you know what, it's going to take us years to clean out the pension system, but you know what we did, we passed ground breaking legislation, thats considered model legislation for the country that actually looks out 30 years from now and gets us on the right path. You know what, I've been looking for leadership on those issues and I have not seen it.
Doug Wright: We've had interesting responses but I'm not sure we addressed the texter's question so I'm going to ask it again. What are you personally and individually going to do reverse the alarmingly toxic and overly partitian environment, and again his reminder, please do not just blame the other side, we've heard that quite enough. There's a fatigue factor in there that's just, uh, overt, and I think many Americans feel that way, so again let me just give both of you about 30-seconds, what are you personally going to do?
Dan Liljenquist: OK, Doug, I will never go on television and point fingers at the other side when my own record demonstrates that I acted the same way they did. I will not be a hypocrite. I don't think any legislation gets passed by bashing people over the head on television, and you know what, I'm gonna work with the other side. I think there are patriots on both sides of the isle, who can do a little bit of math, who are interested in seeing reforms done, and I've found them here in the state. But you don't do that by blaming Democrats for every issue.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Well I have to say that I have a reputation for being able to bring both sides together. I've had a number of Democrat colleagues in the senate come up to me and say you just simply have to win. You're one of the few people who can bring us all together and get things going again. And I don't bring them together to spend money and blow money our the door, I bring them together to get things under control and frankly we need more of that today, not less. On the other hand, they don't, uh, infringe on my concern with values. Whenever we've brought them together it's always been on the center of right and good basis.
Doug Wright: In our country we have a raging debate on same sex marriage, domestic partnerships, all of the above. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act recently came under question, very serious question, from the first circuit court of appeals in Boston, Mass., they've ruled this as unconstitutional signed by President Clinton in 1996. Here's the question, where do both of you see this country going on this issue and how do you intend to steer this debate? And I believe we should start with Senator Hatch on this one.
Orrin Hatch: DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, is a bill that I worked very hard to get through, because I don't believe in discriminating against anybody but I'll tell you this I do draw the line when it comes to the definition of marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act was an act that we passed that made sure that the states could do whatever they decided to, uh, decided on that issue and 30 states now have it written in their constitutions that marriage is between a man and a woman, so DOMA's had a very good effect. 80% of, uh, the Congress voted in both houses for DOMA. Now the district court out in San Francisco and of course the one up in Maine, or Massachusetts, they both ignored the law created new law, created new standards and that has to be tested in court but uh when it comes to marriage. I just do not believe that we should make any exceptions to that.
Doug Wright: Alright Senator Hatch. Thank you. And former state senator Liljenquist, your thoughts.
Dan Liljenquist: Senator I am in 100% agreement with you on that issue. Look, Professor Robert George of Princeton rightly said that the traditional family is the original and best department of health education and welfare, it should be honored and respected in our society, states should have the ability to determine their own laws, as we've done here, now there's a push federally in courts to make one state's decisions apply in every state. The Defense of Marriage Act was an appropriate step for Congress to take to reaffirm states rights to define their own contractual familiar relationships in the states, it's always been a states issue, so I agree with him on that.
Orrin Hatch: if I could add just one thing, I have put together the brief in that particular case, out in the West, and hopefully that brief will point out, well it does point out, just how radical the judge was in making the decision he did. He completely ignored all the laws in this country, and I'm glad Dan has agreed with me on that and I appreciate that.
Doug Wright: Gentlemen, thank you and this one is one that we made into a little extra time. ... Obamacare, by many one, by many, and, uh, right now we need to acknowledge that we're waiting for a Supreme Court decision on this that could radically change the ground on which we stand. But moving forward, this person said rather than telling us that you simply intend to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, because my grandchildren won't be able to afford it, explain your alternative. And then another, uh, person — we've had so many people, uh, text in, write in on this — they said, you know, many of us are already relying on parts of the act. The children's pre-existing conditions, the children who are on their parent's insurance until the age of 26 and things will kick in here fairly quick depending on what the Supreme Court has, uh, done. Every president since FDR has promised affordable health care. Almost all of the presidents have advocated some form of national health care, from Truman, LBJ, President Richard Nixon, President Clinton. What are your thoughts on the Affordable Health Care Act? And this time, Dan, I think we go to you first.
Dan Liljenquist: Doug, look, the Affordable Care Act, it — the Obamacare — is so fundamentally flawed it has to be repealed in its entirety. What bothers me about that whole, how we got to this situation, again it's been Republicans that laid out the foundational arguments for Obamacare. It was Senator Hatch and others who laid out the constitutional argument for the individual insurance mandate nationally in the '90's. It was Senator Hatch and Ted Kennedy who expanded into children's health care national, children's health care program which is the underpinning of Obamacare. It was Senator Hatch and the Republicans in Congress with George Bush who expanded Federal control over health care by adding Medicare Part D to the rolls. It's the single largest expansion of an entitlement into health care, federally, since the '60's. We have — Republicans have pushed government into health care over the last 30 years and, and very few have done more than Senator Hatch to do that. Now, look, here's what has to happen. You have to repeal Obamacare and go to market solutions that allow people to shop for insurance across state lines, and have visibility and transparency into price and get government out of the way on health care.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I was interested — I agree with some of Dan's remarks there, no question about it, but, uh, let's face it, uh, let's get back to Part D. Part D has helped millions and millions of seniors all over this country. It has come in 40% less than projected so that they have the pharmaceuticals that they need. Not only that but it became — it was a conservative bill that passed overwhelmingly with Republican support, and I might add that, uh, it's interesting to note that Paul Ryan's Medicare reform, uh, and the Premium Support Program was based upon Part D. So it was a Republican program, a conservative program, it has worked amazingly well, and it's come in 40% less than projected. In the case of Obamacare, well let me just tell you about SCHIP. SCHIP — there's an S in front of it. When I wrote it it was the State Child Health Insurance program. And it was overwhelmingly passed, I might add it worked very well, and then the Democrats started adding all kinds of things to it like (unintelligible) and so forth. When Obama became president, when Obama became president, he then, uh, he then, uh, expanded it. It was paid for, the way I wrote it. It was not an entitlement. He expanded it into an entitlement and, uh, of course I voted against it. By the way, two months later, Dan voted for the expansion of, of CHIP. No question about it. And Obamacare, we have to do better things. I noticed some of the insurance companies are taking some of the things that they did that even Republicans agree with but there's a lot more we can do and I'd be glad to explain it to you.
Doug Wright: And your 30-second rule.
Dan Liljenquist: Doug, that is simply not true.
Orrin Hatch: Of course it's true, what are you talking about?
Dan Liljenquist: Look, we removed, the vote I took in the State Legislature removed a five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to qualify for this program. That's all I did.
Orrin Hatch: And you voted for the expansion?
Dan Liljenquist: That, no that was not an expansion. That was the only vote I cast, was on legal immigration. Now, he say that Medicare, he laid out exactly why I have problems with his view on how the federal government should be involved in health care. When you say that it was a federal program to grant money back to the states and block grant their money, you are black-mailing them with their own money.
Doug Wright: OK, we, we are out of time on that issue. If, if I might, since, uh, whichever one of you emerges here, and maybe even before the, the, uh, primary we will have a Supreme Court decision on the, especially the mandated portion of this, one of you will be carrying this on into the, uh, debate next fall. Have either of you, uh, considered what the aftermath of this is going to be based on the Supreme Court? This requires perhaps a little tea-reading here and a little crystal ball work, but I'll just throw this out, and maybe just a quick 30-second response from both of you and maybe we can go to Senator Hatch first.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I was the first to come up with the, uh, unconstitutionality of the individual mandate. Uh, I have to say that, uh, I've made the case against Obamacare. I believe the Supreme Court will find the individual mandate unconstitutional. And I made that case before it got there. And I have to say that I believe that they will, I think they can find some other parts of that bill unconstitutional. The question is, since there's no separability clause, will they outlaw the whole bill? Normally they do. And I believe there's a good chance they will.
Doug Wright: And your 30-seconds.
Dan Liljenquist: Yeah, I'm glad you made the case for the unconstitutionality, Senator, but you made the case before for its constitutionality when you were running the bill in the '90's. Look, they should invalidate the entire bill and I think they will do that. What we will have to do is make sure that we then inject market principles. And by the way, individual responsibility for health care back into the equation, which this Congress, and Republicans and Democrats over the years have divorced themselves from over the last 30 years.
Doug Wright: Thank you much.
Orrin Hatch: Can I add just one other thing? It's interesting that that in the 1990's that was a Heritage Foundation bill that was used to defeat Hillarycare. None of us had given much consideration to the individual mandate but when they finally put it in the Obamacare bill, my gosh, I was the first in Congress to raise the unconstitutionality of it, and if we win on that case, it's gonna be because we raised that issue.
Doug Wright: And in fairness, use your time.
Dan Liljenquist: Well look, you play fast and loose because the Heritage Foundation said yes, you should put this in, and as a tactic, I look at that and say, wait a second, they just brushed off that idea that you had your name on. To pass Obamacare.
Doug Wright: Let's talk, uh, balanced budget for a moment. Many of our texters and many of our e-mailers have various thoughts. We have kind of distilled it down to this question. Comparisons are always made by those who are balancing the budget, balanced budget amendment, more fiscal responsibility, it's always made to the, um, the, uh, typical American family. The image is always painted of sitting down at that kitchen table and when a family does sit down at the kitchen table to pore over the bills and develop a balanced budget plan for their family, everything is on the table. Reducing spending, increasing revenue, all of the above. From the Republicans, we quite often hear cut, cap, balance, is there to be no discussion of tax increases? Or, as Ronald Reagan put it, revenue enhancement in this discussion? Doesn't not having that on the table guarantee failure and stalemate? And this time I think, I'm trying to keep track of where we go, I think we start with, uh, Dan Liljenquist on this one.
Dan Liljenquist: Doug, of course, look, when you go into a business to turn them around, you go into a (unintelligible) and you find a business is broken, you do three things. First you fire the management team that got you here. And then you look at revenue and then you look at costs. On the revenue side of the equation, I think we're taxed enough already, but, what we don't have is equal taxation and fair taxation across the board. So, on taxes, I'm in favor of raising taxes on GE, who got themselves their own tax loophole, but I'm afraid I'm in favor of broadening the base, everybody should be paying something, cutting out the loopholes that Congress has granted to people like GE, then lowering the overall tax rate. You gotta do that: broaden the base, stop playing favorites, and lower the tax rates, and then you gotta stop monkeying with the thing, and let people have predictable revenues. We can raise revenues. Our biggest challenge with raising revenues is unpredictability. That's in the tax code, and the regulatory environment in this country. So, look, over the years our tax code has ballooned to be larger than the collective works of Shakespeare entirely. And that is because Senator Hatch and others in Congress have used that tax code to grant subsidies. A new subsidy just extended to grant 100% subsidy to sugar growers in this country. It's just not right.
Orrin Hatch: Which I voted against, by the way. Let me just say that, uh, that, uh, I'm against raising taxes. I believe, every time we've done it, one of the guys, like, a while back, if we'll raise taxes, uh, one time, they give us two times the effect in deficit reduction. We raise taxes, not we, but they raise taxes, I voted against it, and they spent, we never got the spending reductions that they promised, the two-times spending reductions. The problem with raising taxes is that it isn't going to be a question of revenues, we generally average about 18 to 19% in revenues, we're not right now because of the recession, but it'll come back to that. The real problem is that the Democrats will just take it and spend it. And liberal Republicans, by the way. Everything Dan described happens on my committee. I mean, my gosh, this is a committee where, if I take over as chairman, we're going to get these matters under control. One way or the other. We gotta have Mitt Romney as president though to do it. And I'm doing everything I can to get Mitt elected as president as well. And this is one of the reasons Mitt has endorsed me. He knows that I'm an anti-tax person, I've been for my whole senate service, and by the way, if I'm gonna be criticized for everything that's wrong in government, maybe I ought to get some credit for everything that's right in government.
Doug Wright: Uh, Mr. Liljenquist, your 30-second rebuttal.
Dan Liljenquist: Sure. Look, um, Senator Hatch has held the line on overall tax raises. What he has not held the line is the worst kind of taxation. The worst kind of taxation. Where you spend a future generation's worth of wealth and you foist it on a whole bunch of Americans who didn't have a chance to vote for you, with interest. That is fiscal child abuse, and that's what's happened in this Congress, under your watch as you voted over and over to raise the debt ceiling. That is a tax increase, that you've deferred on a whole generation of Americans.
Orrin Hatch: Well, let me get this straight. Apparently I'm responsible for everything that's wrong in the federal government. That's total B.S. and everybody knows it. Everybody who knows me knows that I'm conservative, that I fight for conservative principles, I fight to keep spending under control, I fight to make bills work, and almost everything he defines as being important is in my committee! My goodness, I mean, let's just be honest about it. Utah, Utah is going to have a great advantage in having me as chairman of the finance committee. It's just that simple.
Doug Wright: Your response.
Dan Liljenquist: Look, Senator, what you don't mention, is who will be chair of that committee if you are not there. Senator, Mike Crapo from Idaho, if we take the chairmanship of the or take the majority of the Congress, it's my Mike Crapo from Idaho who voted against TARP, he voted against the bailout, he voted against the creation of SCHIP and the re-authorization of SCHIP. He voted against his votes on those issues are better than yours.
Orrin Hatch: OK, well I gotta answer that, because they used this at the state convention. Mike Crapo came down here to endorse me, and go around the state with me. Now look, if you think you're gonna be better off having a senator from another state who wakes up every morning thinking, What can I do for Idaho? rather than a senator who wakes up every morning saying, What can I do for Utah? then I think you're off track. But Mike and I are going to work really well, bringing him into the orbit, he knows it. I'm gonna make sure that when I leave he will be somebody who, uh, can not only help Idaho but Utah and the entire country.
Doug Wright: Let's go to another topic on this one. ... I think of all the topics, this took the most distillation, and also the censoring of words, I might mention. The countless missed opportunities by the federal government to do its duty, to fix the immigration debacle in our country. Everything from, more recently, McCain-Kennedy building on what President Bush wanted, the comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, to the Dream Act with its genesis way back in 2001, if I have my date correct, Senator? Leaving states in the lurch. Because there has been no action — meaningful action, other than enforcement-type action, from the federal government. What will you do to get the federal government, basically, to do its duty? And let's start with you, Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I get a lot of questions from the Dream Act but what we were trying to do was follow the Utah state legislature, which basically allowed in-state tuition for children of undocumented workers, or undocumented people. And I'm not gonna back off from the Dream Act that I originally founded. It's been totally distorted since, but nevertheless, anybody who wants to criticize me on immigration has to understand that I've done more on immigration for Utah than any other senator — than any other person in Utah. For instance, I brought the Secure Communities program to Utah. That's to 17 — no, 14 counties, so that they can check on the database of the crimes, so that they can follow up on these people. I got the ICE to put a field office in Utah so they don't have to go out-of-state to deal with some of these problems. I brought the 287G program to Weber State and Washington counties, and also that program basically allows local law enforcement to participate in immigration matters. And last but not least, I've brought the immigration court to Utah, with two immigration judges. Nobody can say they've done any more than I have, or even as much, or anywhere near as much as I have for Utah. On the other hand, I have a lot of belief that we have to get together and solve these problems, and it's gonna take people like me, who can get along with both sides, to be able to solve this problem in the end, and I intend to do it.
Doug Wright: Dan Liljenquist, let's go to you next.
Dan Liljenquist: You know, Doug, I've been all over the state, we've done 262 public events, and every time this issue comes up and there are 3 things that I think we can all agree on, and I think we need to focus there. You see, immigration is like having a patient bleeding out in the emergency room and we stand around and discuss about how to clean up the blood. There are three things that we have to do to solve it and then we can work through the trickier issues. One: we've got to secure the border. It is a national security issue. There have been 48,000 murders in northern Mexico in the last four years. That's bleeding across the border. That is a military issue in my mind. But second, we have got to open up legal immigration. After 9/11, we shut down that process, made it more difficult to get through. I just want legal immigration. I just want people coming through the front door with their sleeves rolled up. We need labor, we need people who want to participate in the American Dream and do so openly and honestly. And the third thing, Doug, that I'm in favor of is I don't think it's too much to ask, when somebody shows up to apply for a new job, to check that the name on that Social Security card matches the number. I'm in favor of e-verification, I think that's a reasonable step to protect identities. With those things in place: a secure border, legal immigration that's functioning, which Congress has been abysmal on, and then third, an electronic verification, I think we could start to clean up a lot of these issues and find ways forward.
Doug Wright: And your 30-second rebuttal?
Orrin Hatch: Well, I don't disagree with some of the things that Dan's saying here. There's no use kidding, we're an nation of immigrants, but immigrants who follow the law. He's right, we won't be able to solve these problems until we secure the borders, and we have to do that. Every other large nation in the world knows how to secure their borders, why can't we secure ours? And second, we can no longer grant amnesty. I fought against the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill because they granted amnesty to 3 million people. They should have to get in line like anybody else if they want to come into this country and do it legally.
Doug Wright: I think if there's one phrase that Utahns have heard more than any other in this campaign so far, it has been well, maybe more of a title than a phrase — Hill Air Force Base. And I'd like to talk about that. We have had a lot of comments about it. I even had the opportunity of hosting the Democratic debate, at Juan Diego Catholic High School, between Scott Howell and Pete Ashdown. It came up there as well. This time we start with Dan Liljenquist, and your thought on Hill Air Force Base and how you would secure the base for Utah.
Dan Liljenquist: Well, let me just say, Doug, it is offensive to the men and women at Hill Air Force Base to suggest all over the state with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising that one man stands between Hill Air Force Base and oblivion. Hill Air Force Base is the most effective and efficient air force base in the country, and has the support of our entire state, our entire delegation, and to suggest that one man, Orrin Hatch, stands between Hill and oblivion is ridiculous. We look back at 1976. In that race, Frank Moss argued over and over, "You lose me, you lose Hill Air Force Base." It is the politics of fear, and is not right. And I want to ask the senator, if Hill Air Force Base was so important, and we know funding is the problem with Hill, then how can you justify expanding entitlements by trillions of dollars? How can you justify bridges to nowhere, and billions and billions in earmark spending that didn't get — that went to wasteful projects? How can you justify blowing through the Social Security and Medicare trust funds that now, we have to pay for? There is no way to balance the budget on the back of the military, and I find it disingenuous to say, oh, now that we have broken ourselves financially, that the one person who led us into this thing, and was part and parcel, and presided in many way over this run up in debt, can say he's in favor of defending Hill.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I'll just say what Jim Hansen said, who was there with me along with Jake Garn, they both have said, "We need Orrin." Because anybody that doubts for a minute that some of these larger states would not throw Utah under the bus to get the work that Hill is doing just doesn't know what's going on. Now, at the state convention, Dan brought up that Mike Crapo would be just as good as Orrin Hatch for Hill. Yeah? They've got (Mountain) Home Air Force Base up there. It's a competitive base. And all I can say is we're gonna need a Utah senator and everybody in the delegation working on it. To my dying day, I will be very happy that Jake Garn had 15 years experience, I had 13 years of experience, and Congressman Hansen had, I think it was 9 years of experience when this first came up, and when the system started. If we hadn't had that experience, I gotta tell you, Clinton wanted to move Hill down to California, and McClellan, they couldn't even carry our shoes. And when we beat them there, he wanted to move it to San Antonio, they couldn't carry our shoes. Why? Because they were both presidential states. Anybody who thinks that we don't have to fight for Hill and we don't need a lot of experience to do it just doesn't know what they're talking about, and Dan, you don't know what you're talking about.
Doug Wright: 30-seconds.
Dan Liljenquist: Senator, you don't give yourself enough credit. It was in 1977 that Jimmy Carter tried to move Hill Air Force Base and two young senators in Utah stood up, and you were part of that.
Orrin Hatch: He didn't try that.
Dan Liljenquist: You actually helped push that into the BRAC Commission. Look, Doug, this is the politics of fear. No one senator is too big to fail.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I gotta answer one more thing.
Doug Wright: All right, then we'll go back.
Orrin Hatch: Speedy Martin, who headed the — General Martin, who headed the Air Logistics command in Dayton, who we work with all the time, said Orrin Hatch is crucial to it. Jake Garn says Orrin Hatch is crucial. And I don't think it's all me, I think the delegation has to fight too, but experience does count. I got the highest award from the Air Force for the work that I've done for the Air Force. The highest civilian award that they give out, that they only give out to the top people in this country. And I've gotta say, anybody who thinks that Hill has no trouble — just in the last six months, we've had to solve all kinds of problems at Hill. I'm telling you, they tried to take away a number of things from Hill that we stopped. It's a daily, continuous thing and anybody that doesn't know that really shouldn't be representing our state.
Doug Wright: Dan, in fairness, your response?
Dan Liljenquist: Absolutely, I know that. I live in Davis County, Senator.
Orrin Hatch: Well, apparently, you don't.
Dan Liljenquist: No, what I take issue with is that you were saying you were the only person who could do it.
Orrin Hatch: No, I wasn't. I said that Rob Bishop and I worked very closely together and that's where (unintelligible because Dan interrupts).
Dan Liljenquist: That's the first time you've mentioned Rob Bishop here.
Orrin Hatch: No, no, I've mentioned it every time I've talked about this. Look, I'm getting a little aggravated because I think some of these arguments are just so foolish —
Dan Liljenquist: Can I finish?
Orrin Hatch: Yeah, go ahead.
Dan Liljenquist: Rob Bishop sits on the Armed Services Committee. He sits there. The Senate Finance Committee does not address military spending and you know it.
Doug Wright: Right, on that note — this is kind of a continuation on here, there's been a lot of high rhetoric from our Utah State Legislature, and at the highest levels of government here in the state of Utah, regarding Utah's relationship and what our rights ought to be with and for and around federal lands. With all of the concerns for Hill, or for space, with all of the new opportunities, with the new NSA facility at Camp Williams, with the national parks that made Utah a prime tourist attraction in the entire world, some of this rhetoric seems to play with the folks. But is it productive in our relationship with the federal government, especially when there are so many important relationships that have to be maintained, honed and crafted for the benefit of people here in the state of Utah? And this time I think, if I'm keeping track, we go to former Senator Liljenquist.
Dan Liljenquist: Well, look, Doug, Utah is at a distinct disadvantage from our neighboring states in that when we quick-claimed our land over the federal government they were supposed to sell it in the course of years. This land, that has so many natural resources on it. And what's been amazing over the years, particularly with this administration, is that the BLM has moved to a preservation mode, almost entirely, with our own state lands. That makes it very difficult for us to get ahold of our natural resources, to fund our schools and other things. Look, Utah is really in a tough spot, and I support the legislature's actions to sue, to get access to our lands, because it's our school kids that pay for it. Well, it's also happened over at Congress, over the years. The reason why there's so much influence federally inside the states is we've had a generation of politicians who've shifted power to Washington, who've created agencies, who pass large bills and give broad rule-making authority to the executive branch, and that's what BLM and the other people in the EPA are doing. They are writing new rules because Congress has outsourced its job to the executive branch. We've got to pull back regulatory authority to Congress, and that's gonna take new people who didn't get us into this mess to begin with.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I'm happy to agree with you on much of that, except for the new people, because let me tell you, if we're gonna make headway on lands, it's gonna take experience and ability to get it done. All I can say is that we've been mistreated. I just had as a witness Harold Ham, who was the one who drilled 17 dry wells and finally hit oil in the Buckham claim in North Dakota. The president's bragged about, he's got the most energy-producing administration in history. There's only one reason that we have more oil, and that's that Harold Ham was willing to take the risk and all those dry holes and find the Buckham claim that is a huge, huge find. And the reason he could do it was because these weren't state lands, they were private lands. We just found one down in Texas that was on private lands. Utah — North Dakota got its lands back from the federal government. We've been mistreated all these years. And frankly, if we had our lands back, and could develop our lands, we'd be a very wealthy state. Our school system would be very wealthy. It's still a great school system, but it would be even better if we had that kind of control. In the early days of the Reagan administration, I was one of those that led the fight for the Sagebrush Rebellion. We're gonna do it now. We have a Western Sage coalition set up now of senators. I'm the chairman of the Lands Subcommittee. And I'm gonna do everything in my power to get Utah's lands back, and also to make sure Utah is not dumped on.
Doug Wright: And your time.
Dan Liljenquist: Senator, you mentioned experience. You have twice the experience of anybody we've had in 40 years. Twice the experience of the man you ran against and said had served too long. Twice the experience of Jake Garn and Bob Bennett. How much more experience do you need? We've been suffering under this stuff for decades. And yes, you led the Sagebrush Rebellion, your first term. What's happened since? How much more experience do you need? I look at this and say the results are the same. We have the same issues and they've gotten worse, not better.
Orrin Hatch: Well, the way I look at it, experience is very important. It's more important than seniority as far as I'm concerned. And what it comes down to is somebody that people respect, and follow, and will listen to, and get things done, and I have that reputation back there, on both sides of the floor. Now, I think you had it here, on both sides of the floor in Utah, and maybe you could get it there, but you can start from scratch.
Doug Wright: We are so wrap a lot of the, uh, the major issues but there is obviously so much more but I — we had an interesting question that was posed by one of our texters who said "I hope you reserve the opportunity at the end of the debate for the candidates to ask a question without rebuttal to each other." And so lets let's do that. I think we go now to uh to Senator Hatch on this one. What is the question you'd like to ask of Dan Liljenquist?
Orrin Hatch: Well I don't really have any questions I'd care to ask of him. I think Dan's a fine fellow. I think he did a pretty good job in the two years, I think two or three years he was in the state legislature. That doesn't necessarily translate into doing a fine job back in (unintelligible) I feel like he'd be OK. The problem is, is that he's been quoting FreedomWorks which is the sleaziest bunch I had ever seen in my life that is distorted and many of the things that Dan has said here today are distortions of the record. Thats been hard to take, but, uh, I wish him well in this election but I'll tell you this when we intend to win we intend to represent Utah we intend to make this state even more powerful than it is and Let me tell you something I'm not just blowing smoke here, I literally know this is the greatest state in the union.
Doug Wright: We'll have a closing statement in a moment, Dan very quickly...
Dan Liljenquist: I think I missed the question there... (unintelligible, multiple speaking)
Dan Liljenquist: Look, I have a question, do you consider yourself responsible in any way for the national debt that has exploded in your time in Washington?
Orrin Hatch: Frankly no, I've 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 a little of the things that are right, Dan? Am I responsible for those too? A lot of them I am.
Doug Wright: Alright we have just enough time for a two-minute closing statement from each. Let me use this opportunity to thank you both. For coming in the studio, I'm honored you'd agree to this venue, I appreciate it very much, I hope it's been useful to not only our listeners here on KSL but i hope its been useful to the voters of the state of Utah. And because of the luck of the coin toss, which by the way was a BSA coin. Boy scouts of America. Your challenge coin. We will start with Dan Liljenquist.
Dan Liljenquist: You know that last question Doug, and the answer is absolutely remarkable. Remarkable. We've had a generation of people back there who will not take a single shred of responsibility for a single vote even though they voted multiple times to spend money we didn't have. I watched a TV interview with you Senator Hatch in the fall where you were asked by a TV reporter about spending and your answer when they talked about Medicare Part D was we were spending a lot of money back then that we didn't have. So to argue and to sit here and tell the people of this state that you had nothing to do with the run up in debt of this country is disingenuous, it's not right. Now look, I am not trying to point fingers at one person. I am frustrated with the generation of politicians who have shifted power to Washington, who while we went around our lives and lived our lives, ran up the largest debt and crushing debt in the history of mankind. And it's not hypothetical to me and the people that I know in this state who realized they're gonna have to pay for it with nothing to show. And we need new leaders in Washington, who are determined to go and fix it. I am. I have done that here in ways that nobody has done before in all of United States with pensions and Medicade. Saving the taxpayers billions and billions of dollars over the years to come. By the way folks that we don't have I will do that in Washington we need new leaders to do it we need new generation back there who will see the day when we either succeed or fail, based on the decision today and i plan to be there. Go to DanForUtah.com, get involved in our race. We would love your help and we need every vote, thank you.
Doug Wright: Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Now there's a fine fellow and I wish him well but let me just say this to you. We are in trouble in this country and it isn't mainly Republicans that have put us in trouble. We all know that. Everybody in Utah knows that. We have troubles in Utah that we just have to be, we have to have the experience and the ability to take care of it. Hill Air Force Base is a prime example, with some of our water projects, some of the nuclear waste programs they tried to sample to us, some of our Utah lands. All of these things take experience to handle. Let me tell you something I actually believe there are solutions, and there are ways to solve these problems. But we gotta get more Republicans and more conservative Republicans at that. I'll just tell this little story. The fellow was walking along he fell into a hole, it was so deep he couldn't get out. The businessman walked by and he says "Help me! I can't get out of here!" Businessman threw in $20 down into the hole and then he walked away. And then there was the doctor who came by and he said "Help me! I'm in this hole and I can't get out of it!" And the doctor wrote out a prescription and dropped it in the hole and walked away. Thirdly, one of his friends came by, and he looked at him and said "What are you doing down there?" he said "I'm in the hole, I'd like to get out!" Well the friend jumped into the hole. And the man says "What are you doing? You jumped into the hole and I don't know how to get out" And the man said "I've been here before and I know the way out." Experience does count. I've had a 90 percent American Conservative Union voting record for 36 years. I've been endorsed just today by the American Conservative Union and basically almost all the good conservative groups back there, endorsing me, including the NRA. And they're doing it for one reason because I carry these fights. I take them seriously and I win for Utah and our country.
Doug Wright: Gentlemen, I so thank you. Joining us here we wish you both well, we appreciate you being part of our debate today at KSL News Radio.
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