Emery County Republican Party Chairman Bill Dellos welcomed Sen. Orrin Hatch and everyone to the brunch hosted by Senator Hatch at the Orangeville City Community Center on Oct. 8. There were 40 people in attendance to hear what the senator had to say.
The senator told the group that he was happy to be here in Emery County at last. He also said that after this meeting he would be going to the Johnson Ranch or Castle Valley Outdoors near Emery to meet with about 30 Wounded Warriors. He said this Wounded Warrior gathering included three generals.
"One of the top Army people and a real close friend of mine asked me if I could go there and visit with them. We do a lot for the wounded warriors. Some are from the Bethesda Naval Hospital and some from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. To see these folks that fought for us and have given so much is very impressive to me. I am happy to be of service there," said Senator Hatch.
After that comment and after introductions all around, the senator opened the meeting for questions. Lou Sansevero asked about Pres. Obama telling contractors to not lay off people until after the election. The senator said that Pres. Obama clearly violated the law. He went on to say that Obama has issued more executive orders than all of the past presidents put together.
The senator went on to say that he really enjoyed Clint Eastwood's presentation with the empty chair. "I said at the time Eastwood will get chewed up for this. It was very impressive and I agreed with him," Senator Hatch said.
What are the chances of getting a balanced budget amendment passed?
"First you have to get two thirds of the House and three quarters of the Senate to agree and then you have to get 38 states to agree. The chances of passage are not good at this time.
"I have been twice within one vote of passing a balanced budget amendment. I sponsored a balanced budget amendment in 1997 and had all the votes lined up. When I went to the floor of the Senate to give the closing arguments for our side I was informed that one of our Republicans had left us. That was a crushing defeat for me. If we had passed that amendment, I believe the 38 states would have passed the amendment within a year. That would have forced the Congress to balance the budget and live within its means. But even if we can not pass it a balanced budget is worth trying for. The vote did show who was for it and who was against.
"Even if we had a balanced budget amendment some of these clever people would find a way around it. Not being able to pass the Balanced Budget Amendment makes everyone aware of how bad the economy of the United States is. And how bad the Congress of the United States has managed the economy.
Karl Jackman asked about the unprecedented spending by the current administration. How can Congress reduce the spending?
The Senator started by saying, The President always blames someone else. At the time the Democrats took over the House and the Senate in 2007 and 2008. The Bush administration was fighting the war. The Deficite was at 40 percent of GDP. After Pres. Obama and the democrats took over in 2008 the deficit has continued to climb. It is now 69 percent of GDP. They have started all of those social programs that people are dependent upon.
"We have never had trillion dollar deficits like we have had these past four years.
"I sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Liberty Protection Act. I got Sen. Kennedy to sign on to the Religious Liberty Protection Act," said Sen. Hatch.
Randy Johnson reminded the Senator of a time when the Senator's influence helped Spanish Fork and UDOT to put an interchange from US Highway 6 to Interstate Highway 15. Randy also asked if the Senator would support the Comprehensive Public Lands Bill. The Senator said I will do what you want me to do.
Senator Hatch said, "When I call people they return my phone calls. The fact that I have been in the Senate all that time. It is not a weakness. People do listen. They know that I am aggressive, that I will not put up with mistreating my constituents and they know that I control a lot of money."
One questioner said it seems like Congress is putting a lot of things off until after the election. Will there be a lot of things done in a lame duck session? The Senate hasn't passed a budget in three years and the Bush tax cuts are coming due. I am worried about what is going to happen.
The Senator said, "It is my experience that very little gets done in a lame duck session."
"If changes in our government are to be made it will be up to the Republicans to make the changes in the way the government spends its money. I do not see many Democrats up for that," said Sen. Hatch.