SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch promised to go “big and bold” during the 168 legislative work days remaining in his seventh and now final term in the U.S. Senate.
"Anyone who thought that Orrin Hatch would coast quietly into his golden years clearly doesn’t know me," the Utah Republican said Thursday on the Senate floor.
Hatch, who announced last week that he won't seek re-election, said he put pieces in place long ago to ensure his last year would be a legislative "knockout."
"So no one should count me out, not for a single second," he said. "And anyone who does should be reminded that I can do in just a few months what it takes most members a decade to complete."
The 83-year-old senator went on to say he has arguably the best working relationship with President Donald Trump of anyone on Capitol Hill.
Fresh off a big tax reform win, Hatch listed finding a way forward on immigration and securing long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program among his priorities now. He said he also intends to update intellectual property laws, enact fixes to the higher education system, advance medical marijuana research and fill the courts with as many qualified judges as possible.11 comments on this story
Referring to himself as an "old workhorse," Hatch said to expect a flurry of legislation as well as some legislative "surprises." He said his longevity has earned him a reservoir of goodwill and some latitude in the Senate.
"That’s why my plan is to go big and to go bold. Because unless you’re Michael Jordan, you only retire once — so you might as well make the most of it," he said.
Hatch said the stars have aligned for 2018 to his most successful year and to not expect him to go gently into the night.
"Tough old birds like me don’t have lame-duck years," he said. "We just dig in and get tougher."