Comments about ‘Orrin Hatch: It's time to fix the United States Senate’

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Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 2014 8:40 p.m. MDT

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Mapleton, UT

Orrin Hatch is not a defender of the Constitution. He should have retired before his last election. He shamefully questioned Elena Kagan regarding her alteration of evidence in the federal courts pertaining to partial birth abortion. Though he skillfully led her to admit her participation in changing evidence, he did not follow through with a challenge to withdraw her nomination because her conduct was illegal and required her disbarment. Instead he acquiesced in her placement on the high court. He is no defender of the U.S. Constitution. He ignominiously joins his Democrat friends in criticizing Utah's Senator Mike Lee for his courageous defense of our Constitution and Liberty.

Retire Senator Hatch! Utah needs another Senator pledged to defend our Republic rather than serve the Secret Combinations of the Republican Senate and allow the continuance of the treasonous conduct of Harry Reid. You speak for the self-serving Old GOP, not for the people of this great Republic.

Salt Lake City, UT

The Senate broke when the 17th Amendment was adopted. Instead of having state legislatures elect senators, now the general public does, which has led to the domination of special interests, money, and populism. Lack of term limits also contributes to the broken Senate, with entrenched Senators such as Reid and Hatch who harbor bad feelings based on personality conflicts.
The Republicans did control the Senate not too long ago, and they made enough of a mess that the people elected Democrats, who are probably worse in most areas. Neither party represents the people, and neither will unless we revert to the original Constitution.

Informed Voter
South Jordan, UT

So Senator, what can be done to spotlight the complicent democrat senators who support Harry Reid, thus enabling him? It seems they all vote in lock step. How about calling them out on what they are doing to the Senate as you stated in your article? 95% of the public have no idea of the harm they are doing since they never hear anything except the Republicans are the problem. For heaven's sale (and ours), will you and others go public via the mass media? The Republicans in Congress rightly deserve the wimp reputation they have. And yet when Senators Lee, Cruz, and Paul speak up, they are criticized by their fellow Republicans!

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Hatch conveniently leaves out the outrageous Republican obstructionism that forced Reid to alter the rules on filibuster. Of 168 presidential appointments rejected in the entire history of the Senate, 86 of them--nearly half--were Obama appointments!!! Republicans like Mike Lee childishly refuse to vote for cloture on any Obama appointments. The result has been near breakdown of the gov't. All of Orrin's high-toned talk about "the deliberative traditions of the Senate" is just political eyewash.

sensible advocate
slc, UT

If you are around for 38 years, you have time for unlimited debate. Presidents are only around for 4 or 8 and they need competent people on their team that they have vetted. The Senate is a wreck because people waste time up there blocking reasonable nominations and sending up legislation over and over that just sais kill obamacare 40 different ways like a child begging for sucker while their parent is trying to get something productive done.

Bountiful, UT

jashill: Amen.

A Chem Engineer
Pocatello, ID

Senator Hatch: He issues all that blather about the Senate being broken, and yet apparently has not a clue as to the real cause of the Senate dysfunctionality.

The function of the Senate was torpedoed with the passage of the 17th Amendment on April 8, 1913 - yes, over 100 years ago. But what we are seeing today is what Thomas Jefferson predicted - and Orrin Hatch should know this.

The 17th Amendment undermined the entire foundation of the Senate as crafted in the Great Compromise during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 by changing how the Senate was elected. The Founders established that since the States were independent Sovereign States, tasked with the general funding of the Federal Government, that the Senators were to be elected by the State Legislatures - thus the Senate represented the States who had to pay the upkeep of the Federal Government.

The 17th Amendment changed the election of Senators to a popular vote by the electorate - same as the House of Representatives - thus opening the doors of the U.S. Treasury to the masses. On April 8, 1913, the United States of America ceased to be a Republic, and became a Democracy - bound for bankruptcy.

Saratoga, UT

Mr. Hatch does describe the symptoms of the problem fairly well. I am not sure I completely agree with a root cause. Sen. Reid used the position of power to break traditions and to further his agenda. The cause is like much deeper.

The Founding Fathers did envision the Senate as a place where impulses of the day were tempered. The Senate, rather than representing the will of the people (which is accomplished in the House of Representatives) was designed to represent the sovereign states that made up the nation.

The balance was lost when the people began to directly vote for senators rather than being elected and accountable to the states - through the legislature. This 1913 change (17th Amendment)caused the eroding of a pivotal protection for each state from overreaching federalism.

How would Sen. Reid, Sen. Hatch or any Senator fare if they were accountable to their state's legislature for defending states rights instead of political power wielded by Washington insiders?

Provo, UT

jashill, you sound like another of the far right, more a Libertarian than Republican. The comments offered here by Senator Hatch are in fact one that should be taken to heart. There is nothing wrong with talking to your political opponents and sitting down and crafting legislation that can pass with bipartisan support. Both sides seemed to have abandoned this approach and the nation is the worse for it. When someone tells me that they never compromise I can be assured of three things:

1. They have never been married because married life is a series of compromises by both parties.

2. They have never raised teenagers. Anyone that has does not need any further explanation.

3. They have never been in business because a failure to compromise would end any success.

I would encourage Senators to begin talking to each other. Cut the level of staff and engage personally in crafting legislation. Any bill that passes on a strictly partisan manner, no matter which party passes it, ends up being poor legislation and even poorer law.

Cache, UT

Hatch ran on the platform of "anti-establishment" and "anti-incumbent" in 1977. He IS the establishment. He HAS been the incumbent far too many times. He is the problem, not the solution.

To fix this mess, we need:
1- Term limits in the Senate and House. I also would suggest that we change the terms to 4 year terms so that house members aren't constantly running for re-election.
2- A return of statesmen who consider it an honor to serve in our government and return home to their prior occupation following their service.
3- No lifelong retirement package (including healthcare benefits and money) for ANYONE who was a politician.

Any other suggestions???

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Might I add these suggestions to those of Senator Hatch?
1) National political office should be limited to eight years. 38 years in office breeds complacency and reinforces crony capitalism.
2) If you want the higher level of deliberation Hatch talks about,repeal the 17th amendment.

Highland, UT

Congress is exactly where our POTUS wants it - Divided. If it's divided and "not working", our dear leader can find reasons to bypass it and do whatever he wants with his phone and his pen. Did Hitler have a congress? How about any other socialist or communist leaders?

Ivins, UT

What he said.

Redding, CA

I respectfully disagree with Sen Hatch's call for continuing old traditions in the Senate. I've heard'em before, the Senate is supposed to be a deliberate body, etc.
Today's US Gov't needs to respond to the will of the people and to confront the issues of today. My suggestion of changes needed, in contrast to Sen Hatch's op ed.
Term limit Senators so they don't become icons and so we get more citizen legislators, i.e. legislators who have to live in the world created by their legislation. There are better ideas out there, Sen Hatch, among us.
Make the Senate a statistically representative body by losing the rule about 2 Senators per state, we need Senate seats to be parceled out by population, yes that means Rhode Island gets one and California gets 12, among other fair changes.
Require the Senate to vote on bills instead of debating them and tabling them infinitely; we'll get better results overall from this one change.
Got more ideas too, Sen Hatch.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

Sorry Orrin,
You lost me at "petty partisanship".
You rubber-stamped every George Bush fiasco and have been an obstructionist for 6 years now, denying the will of the American people to satiate your small insignificant base. I am ashamed and I think you should be too. That's no way for a statesman or patriotic American to behave.

seattle, WA

I can not believe that there are posters here who wish to return to the 19th century, and remove the popular election of senators. Unbelievable. Shall we remove other amendments as well such as the right of woman to vote, or to bring back slavery?

Coalville, UT

"America's Founders designed the Senate to refine the immediate impulses of popular will, and to apply considered judgment to produce thoughtful legislation aimed at the common good."

America's Founders did not recognize women, African-Americans, Native Americans, and poor non land-owning white men as people with Constitutional rights. The Founders also structured the Senate so Senators were appointed by state's governors, who themselves were wealthy white men, because they didn't trust We the People. The Seventeenth Amendment fixed that--some lofty history about the lofty Senate. So while the Constitution is an extremely meaningful document, it was flawed when it was written and remains so today. The Founders knew that, which is why we can amend it.

I hate it when powerful politicians ignore the Constitution (Congress declares war, torture is illegal by treaty, corporations have Constitutional rights, spying on citizens...) when creating public policy, and then embrace it to give us a fantasized version of past events in order to make political points right before an election. The Senate isn't working because Senators from both parties are not interested in compromising, just getting re-elected. Like the presidency, Senators should be term-limited.

salt lake city, UT

"If and when Republicans regain control of the Senate, we must reject the slash-and-burn tactics employed by the current majority leader, which serve only to destroy an institution carefully designed to promote good government."

Oh please Orrin, your hypocrisy is appalling. Your party and yourself are true believers in slash and burn tactics. You have become so bitter and partisan that you fail to see what you do. Just last week, your appearance and speaking at Varian was another example of your partisan ways. Many were appalled how you took the opportunity granted to you to celebrate Varian's contribution to the state to make a political speech and spend considerable time criticizing our President.
You were right many, many years ago when running for Senate the first time. People who stay to long become disconnected and serve only themselves and their party. You have played a major role in making what the Senate what it is.

salt lake city, UT

If the garden has weeds, then the gardener is at fault. Having worked as a Senate aide first in 1969 I have witnessed the decline of the Senate as described by our senior Senator. To twist Shakespeare,"the fault lies with you, dear Brutus". I am in midstream of my six decade and one thing I have learned over time is to know when it is time to quit. There are so many things senior, senior citizens can do to help society it is sad our senior Senator doesn't take up one of these alternative services and retire. We would all be better off for it.

Heber City, UT

D.C. (and America) are "broken" due to one thing: money flowing into politicians pockets. That's also the reason we haven't seen Senator Hatch in Utah for about 30 years -- except to raise money.

If i thought Senator Hatch had anything to do with writing this editorial I'd be embarrassed for him.

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