Hatch called himself the likely chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee where 60% of all federal spending is considered. He said with Romney as president and "if I take over as chairman, we're going to get these matters under control one way or the other.
"It's time for new leaders in the Senate, Liljenquist said. "I am running, senator, because you could become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, not in spite of it," he said.
The comment clearly rankled Hatch. "Let me get this straight. Apparently, I'm responsible for everything that's wrong in government. That's total b.s. and everybody knows it," the six-term senator said.
For his one question, Liljenquist asked Hatch if he felt responsible in any way for the national debt.
"Frankly, no," Hatch replied. "I led the fight against the debt from day one. And I'm offended that you keep bringing it up like I'm responsible for all the things that are wrong in America. How about the things that are right--am I responsible for those, too?" Hatch complained that it has been difficult to fight federal spending because in the Senate "we've been in the minority the whole time I've been there."
BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT: Dan is also in favor of and will advocate for a balanced budget amendment but simply balancing the budget while "raising revenues" (which means tax increases) is not enough. We must also cut the spending and curb the rate of that spending.
Liljenquist said that he is trying to help the citizens of Utah to know the differences between himself and Senator Hatch and that he challenged Senator Hatch to eight televised debates. Hatch informed Liljenquist that he didn't have time for that.
Their key disagreement, however, had more to do with chronology than ideology. Challengers Chris Herrod and Dan Liljenquist argued that incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch's 36 years in Washington had made him partly responsible for the nation's problems, while Hatch emphatically countered that his time in the Senate made him uniquely positioned as an agent for change.
Hatch frequently referred to his position in the Senate Finance Committee--he would chair the committee if Republicans gained a majority of the Senate in November--and presented himself as part of a 2-man reform team with Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. "The finance committee is where it's all at," Hatch said. "Mitt knows it, I know it and he wants me there.
Hatch answered that for most of his time in the Senate, the finance committee had been chaired by Democrat senators. He also pointed to his record of co-authoring the balanced budget amendment, a cause that he has brought to the Senate floor 13 times and twice, he said, came within one vote of passage. "Had we passed that amendment we wouldn't be in the awful state we are today," Hatch said. "Some of us really do work hard to get this country out of the doldrums."
Liljenquist, however, described Hatch's work with the balanced budget amendment as hypocritical. He said Hatch had voted for a number of bills that added to the national debt, specifically dealing with Medicaid. "You can't hold up the balanced budget in one hand and then hold up legislation that makes it impossible in the other," Liljenquist said.
The two challengers, however, said Hatch has served in Washington during a time when the federal debt increased rapidly and the powers of the executive branch expanded significantly. "It's one thing to say that you think Congress should have a say, but when you're in Congress, you have to demand that Congress have a say," his opponent Liljenquist said.
|2012 Presidential contenders on Budget & Economy:|
Green: Dr.Jill Stein(MA)
Libertarian: Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Justice: Mayor Rocky Anderson(UT)
Constitution: Rep.Virgil Goode(VA)
Peace+Freedom: Roseanne Barr(HI)
Reform Party: André Barnett(NY)
AmericansElect: Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
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