Even though Utah's two senators voted for the Senate version of a deficit-cutting budget package early Friday, they couldn't say much good about it later.
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, said: "While I do not believe today's bill is the cure-all for budgetary woes, I voted for it for one simple reason: The alternative is too bleak. The alternative is utter chaos."Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added: "I do not like the bill. I did not want to support it."
Still, he said, he voted for it for two reasons:
"First, I felt is is important to strengthen the hand of the Senate negotiators as they go to conference on the bill with the House. As poor as the Senate version is, the House bill is worse. I strongly feel that our negotiators need the added strength of having a majority of at least 23 Senate Republicans.
"Second, this bill represents the best chance to move the budget process forward . . . Not getting an agreement has been tearing the country apart and causing severe jitters in the financial markets. As bad as this deal is, it is unlikely that passing anything better is politically possible."
Garn agreed that the time is long past to move ahead with the budget.
"We have toyed with this budget for nine months and we have reached a point of complete mayhem. Our budget impasse is a humiliating symbol of a national breakdown of governance and political values. The only way to restore leadership is to pass a consensus budget and get on with the business of the nation," he said.
Garn and Hatch said they would have preferred to see spending cut more and taxes raised less. But the House version of the package would raise taxes even more.
"The president personally called me on my vote. He asked me to vote for the package so the process could move forward," Hatch said. "I greatly favor a budget that would cut spending and not raise taxes at all. Unfortunately, the majority in Congress do not share this view.
"The views of the minority sometimes must give in to the views of the majority to have the process go forward."
Garn said, "If I were to design my own budget, it would cut spending, not raise taxes. I disagree with many provisions of this new bill, but the political reality is that this is the best Congress can do under the circumstances.
"I am not proud of this fact, but it is reality. I cast my vote today not in support of a perfect package but in support of the overall objective of reducing the deficit and giving the American people an operational government," he said.