Comments about ‘Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee oppose new debt deal’

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Published: Sunday, July 31 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Utah Dem
Ogden, UT

IdahoStranger - absolutely. After working for DoD for 35 years and being a financial manager I am guarantee there were (to use a government phrase) fraud, waste and abuse in funding of various programs and activities. Flying across the country for a 30 minute meeting when it could have been done through video conferencing, sending people TDY (business trips) which turned out to be mini-vacations, etc.

I would much rather have seen many of the 'pork barrel' funding stopped.

Herriman, UT

I am a bit torn really. On one hand, I did write all of my Congressmen and told them essentially "you made your point, I support your approach more than most approaches, but it is time to compromise because the risks here outweigh the possible benefits of holding out."

On the other hand, it is that compromising attitude that has so often been used to drag us where we are today. For politicians, compromise = both sides spend money they don't have to buy supporter and lobbyist votes for their next election. The Tea Party IS extreme (and frankly needs to cave on raising taxes to pay the debt off), but if they hold the line on spending, their "extreme" views woudl actually pay off 20 years from now.

Santaquin, UT

I am proud of our senators for sticking to their guns and demanding a balanced budget ammendment. Sen. Lee ran his campaign on the promise that he would seek to balance the budget. He should be congratulated for pushing that agenda. It doesn't matter to me if Sen. Hatch is holding fast in order to gain favor with people in the party or if he is doing it because it is the right thing to do because in the end it is the right thing to do. I certainly hope that our senators and reps will not pay any attention to the lunatic fringe posting here who are calling for higher taxes and continued high spending. It is they who will ruin our country.


Thank you Senator Lee. What a hard thing for you to do. Hatch I'm sorry for our country it took you so long to get on board and it's just too late for me and hopefully others as well. You voted for so many programs especially while Bush was in office that put our country in this situation. That is when you should have stood up and said no more spending when you had the power. To blame Obama and the dems now is just ridiculous.

Kamas, UT

I'm not the least bit impressed with the political deal that has been struck. A $2.8 Trillion increase in the debt ceiling is not good news.

It does little to address the underlying economic realities with which we are faced as a country. When the rating agencies signaled they expected $4 Trillion in real spending cuts, not illusory fictions, what did the politicians do?

Gave them $2.8 Trillion in more debt with yet another bicameral bipartisan committee to "study" how we intend to come up with the balance of cuts still short of what the rating agencies demanded.

That real economic debate will now begin in earnest, and few if any of us should be the slightest bit interested in who is scoring political points.

The neoconservative dream of ever-expanding empires filled with democracies is dead, and so is the dream of progressives that a new era of liberal progress would become reality by borrowing and taxing.

Economic reality will trump both agendas and the Tea Party desire for smaller government will now become self-fulfilling because the government we have created has shown itself for what it is -- unsustainable.

Let the real debate now begin.

Ogden, UT

@ Esquire I do not remember anyone saying we should not honor and pay our past obligations. Attention to balancing the budget? I guess you didn't hear that the Repubs presented a balanced budget amendment which was shot down by The Great Pretender and the Dems. And why not. That would handcuff them in the future from their buying votes spending. Would you please direct us to where we can see and read The Great Pretenders plan. So we can really understand his involement.And yes this debate has been good for the American people. More people are now aware of the direction this Country is headed in. And for the Kool Aiders if it was not for the Tea Party this would have never happened. It would have been business as usual. Sorry Charlie hopefully it won't be business as usual anymore!

Salt Lake City, UT

Lee is taking this position because he doesn't think - he doesn't have to. He's the Tea Party darling. Never mind that he voted to force the Air Force to take the overpriced, unnecessary and unwanted F-35 engine - the Tea Party doesn't pay attention to what people do, only to what they say.

Hatch is taking this position because he's terrified of the Tea Party - he doesn't want to go the way of Bob Bennett. He figures that if he can tap dance to the right hard enough for the crazies he'll survive the state convention, and that once he secures the nomination he'll coast to re-election because he's the "R" on the ballot.

Both positions are toxic to our republic.

Kaysville, UT

So many ungrounded opinions here again. Fact is Senator Hatch is not pandering toe the tea drinkers anymore than Senator Lee is, and I would argue, that unlike Lee, Hatch as the long record to prove it.

Hatch as sponsored or co-signed a balanced budget amendment 17 times, Lee, once. Hatch came one vote short of passing a BBA in 1998.

Hatch has voted numerous times not to raise the debt ceiling in prior administrations dating back to President Jimmy Carter. He voted against raising the debt ceiling in the Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama administrations. Now of course, Lee was not in the Senate back then, so we don't know how he would have voted while he was in grade school.

I don't agree with either Hatch or Lee on voting no now, because we have got all we can get this go 'round. I'm a pragmatist and I'd like to live, (quite literally), both economically and politically to fight another day in round two. Rome was not built in a day, and Republicans need more votes in the Senate.

But please, folks let's get our facts straight on Hatch's record.

Durham, NC

Lane - it is because they don't allow budgets to be carried over, just like another organization I know uses the same rules. We can't by legislation have any government being a "profit" center - and yet if they do the right things and cut cost, they hurt their ability to have budget rolling forward. It is a very broken, but well oiled machine.

Kaysville, UT

Just curious.. why are there so many posts about Utah "representatives" and Utah situations made by an abundance of people from out of state? Don't they have newspapers in their states?
Just asking-----------

Kaysville, UT

Again, the fervor and emotion of the tea party, much like the original one in Boston, has served as a motivating factor. However, ideals without specific plans cannot govern anymore than chaotic outbursts could win the revolutionary war against Britain. Ideologues without pragmatism and and understanding of our system of checks and balances under the Constitution, do not understand the Constitution, even if they are attorneys and have memorized every word.

The obvious fact is that compromise was necessary between big and small states, pre-federalists and pre-republicans in order to produce the Constitution by the thinnest of margins, against all odds.

Senator Lee and his tea party constituency should understand that majority votes are needed in order to effect real change. While I admire the passion, failing to honor our Constitutional system will not succeed in the long run. Not every American voter agrees with a conservative limited government perspective, we are divided. Even many conservatives defend their benefits.

Our system allows for a majority rule, while protecting the rights of the minority. Checks and balances. Better to make the best deal possible and position politically for the Presidency and a Senate majority in the next election.

Kaysville, UT

Finally, failure to reach a deal at this point, and allowing a default does not work, and will make it much more difficult to increase revenue through a growing economy. Failure to honor our current obligations will make it much more difficult to tackle the real driver of our current deficits, (i.e. exponentially increasing health care costs, and entitlements, especially Medicare.) Social Security can be fixed, and must be with relatively minor adjustments to future retirees retirement ages, means testing or a combination of factors.

Medicare is a much more difficult, but not impossible nut to crack. It is sad that so much of our political energy as a nation is focused on baseless rhetoric and political demogoguery on both sides of the aisle. The fact is that our current woes correspond with less cooperation in Congress not more. The idea that this crisis is the result of "go along, get along", just isn't factual.

We should be focussing on how entitlement programs can be reformed and re-structured, not not on some broad generalization about cutting spending accross the board. Every program should be scrutinized, modernized or eliminated based on the merits.

Where is the beef?

Kamas, UT

Facts is right -- the big fact here is the conversation has changed, and that's hopeful.

A year ago before the 2010 mid-term elections a $1.9 Trillion increase in the debt ceiling was unopposed by both Democrat controlled houses of Congress, and even a few months ago there were discussions about a second "stimulus" bill worth hundreds of billions in more borrowed debt.

Now the conversation is about a BBA and real spending cuts and caps.

The debate about our economic survival can now begin, and the upcoming presidential election will be less about politics and more about what matters. When the country elects even more patriots determined to put our fiscal house in order, we'll all be better served.

Kearns, UT

When will someone come on Fox News and help their viewers and hosts understand that raising the debt limit is only guaranteeing that the US has the ability to pay off debt that has already been committed too?

This isn't a "blank check" as Boehner likes to use as his scare tactic. This is simply allowing the government to make payments on legilsation that has already been passed.

This isn't putting a check on Obama, it's paying for things that Clinton, Bush and Obama have already committed the country too.

It's really that simple.

On the BBA, I love the idea, just don't see a great way for it to exist. What would the Republicans have done to pay for Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, etc. with a BBA in place? Clearly, the large obligations of the federal government, like wars and disaster relief, would have to be taken into account. And as it has been stated already, what happens if you put measures in the budget for these possibilities, yet they don't happen that fiscal year? Some loopholes would need to be worked out, but it's worth the discussion.

Springville, UT

@ mohokat, the BBA was introduced about 3 days before the house voted on it. No hearings were held, there was virtually no public discussion on it, and no consideration of how it would actually work. Your House GOP buddies could actually propose something real, or they can keep putting forth gimmicks and then turn around and vote for more spending on their pet programs. They are just playing political games to deceive in order to gain political power. Who is going to win under their proposals? Government contractors and Wall Street. Certainly not those of us in the middle class or retirees.

Kaysville, UT

Lastly, I must refute again the warn out contention of many tea party true believers and others that we can pay all our current obligations without raising the debt ceiling in the short run. Sorry, the math just doesn't work.

Again, in summary, interest on the debt, Medicare, Medicaid and national defense equal 80% of federal spending. By comparison, NASA is six tenths of one percent of the budget. Discretionary spending is about 8%. At the same time we are borrowing 40% of our current outlays. That means 60% is paid for with current revenues. There is a 20% gap between the cost of entitlements plus defense and tax revenues. Without entitlement reform, 100% of all other expenses, (indluding defense), will need to be eliminated in order to balance.

In 1965, entitlements represented about 28% of the federal budget. Today they are nearly two thirds. In 1975 medical care expenses represented 8% of GDP. Today, they are 20%. The facts don't lie folks.

In a recent poll nearly 80% of voters want a balanced budget. In that same poll, 84% did not want any entitlement cuts. Wake up America. We have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.

Orem, UT

@brent t co,

You're pretty generous with someone else's money. Some of us have been investing in SS for 40 years. Not our fault congress robbed the fund to pay for other stuff. Paul Ryan has the right idea on this. Fix it for the future by making changes that don't affect those retired or about to retire that have figured SS into their planning. Nice to be so tough, but not practical. Too many of us senior voters to allow such nonsense.

West Valley, UT

Of course they would both oppose it. It's more political grandstanding. They would rather run this nation into oblivion than accept any sort of compromise.

Remember this, remember their stand against the future of this nation. Vote them both out when election time comes.

Salt Lake City, Utah


Just a simple question I have invested in social security for 30 years, so I should get less than you because you happen to have been born ten years before me? I am ok with that if I can quit paying into social security for the next ten years.

It is interesting we hear the concept of shared sacrifice, I think the new definition of sharing is don't touch my stuff, sacrifice everyone else's stuff. Facts r stubborn keeps pointing out the fact that without cuts to entitlements and defense, as well as increasing taxes, we will never get a handle on our debt.

Provo, UT

The deal envisions increasing the federal debt over the next ten years from about $14.3 trillion to $22 trillion. Without the deal, the debt would have increased to $24 trillion. So, we should all be delighted that we are only increasing the debt by $8 trillion instead of $10 trillion. If that is all we can do, then this nation is finished. We do not deserve to be free. The road to serfdom cometh.

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