Entries in Orrin Hatch (10)


Sen. Orrin Hatch Could Die in Office, Rival Says

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Democratic opponent Scott Howell is trying a unique attack line in his race against the state’s senior senator: telling voters Hatch could die during his next term.

“Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy,” Howell said in a fundraising letter. The letter notes that Hatch could “die before his term is through.”

The letter, which was first reported by ABC’s Salt Lake City affiliate, was sent by the Howell campaign on Sunday.

Hatch is 78, and if re-elected he will be the most senior Republican senator. He currently shares that distinction with Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, who is retiring after losing his Senate primary to Tea Party challenger Richard Mourdock earlier this year.

Despite his age, Hatch is expected to coast to re-election in the fall in the deep red state. Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, told ABC 4 Salt Lake that Howell’s attacks were an attempt to drum up some attention.

“He’s got a campaign that’s going nowhere,” Hansen said. “Nobody knows who he is.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Address: Sen. Orrin Hatch Says Raising Taxes Is 'Not a Solution'

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Raising taxes on businesses is the wrong solution while in the middle of economic crisis, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah who delivers this week's Republican address.

Sen. Hatch warns Americans about the impending tax hike set to hit "middle-class families, job creators and seniors" if the president and Congress don't act soon.  

"The uncertainty caused by this tax crisis -- or Taxmageddon -- is contributing to America's lackluster economic recovery," he says in the address. "That's not a Republican talking point; that's based on what job creators across the country are saying."

Like his Republican colleagues in Washington, Hatch contends that if Congress passes the Democratic plan not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for families with incomes higher than $250,000, business owners would have trouble generating jobs in the U.S.

"This isn’t the time for political games and vilifying job creators.  The President and his Washington allies need to stop holding America’s economy hostage in order to raise taxes on those trying to lead our economic recovery,” says Hatch, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee.

But President Obama and congressional Democrats say that the GOP plan put forward by Hatch that would extend tax cuts for the wealthy represents "top-down economics"  that would gut education and training, while raising taxes for middle-class households.

Still, "Raising taxes [on American business owners] as our economy continues to struggle is not a solution, and the majority of Americans and businesses understand that," says Hatch.

Tax reform "should mean lower tax rates to promote more hiring, investment and a stronger economy," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Orrin Hatch, Rep. Charlie Rangel Survive Primary Challenges

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two Capitol Hill stalwarts -- a conservative senator and a liberal congressman -- easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday, fending off what were viewed as the toughest challenges of their careers.

In Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator for six terms, defeated the Tea Party-supported Dan Liljenquist by a two-to-one margin.

There were questions earlier this year about whether Hatch would win the GOP nomination, as the Tea Party seemed intent on replacing him with a candidate to the far right even though Hatch's conservative credentials were impeccable.

However, Hatch's base rallied for him and the senator's war chest of $7 million was no match for Liljenquist, who had less than $1 million to spend.  Hatch is expected to cruise to re-election in November.

Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel had no problem beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat even as his 15th District in Harlem was melded into the mostly Latino 13th District.

Rangel, seeking his 22nd term in the House, is normally considered a lock to win the Democratic primary but this redistricting, along with ethics issues, posed a threat to his long tenure.

In December 2010, Rangel became the first congressman in nearly three decades to be censured after an ethics committee found him guilty of 11 charges, including improperly raising money for a college, failing to disclose investments and failing to pay taxes on his villa in the Dominican Republic, among other things.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will Orrin Hatch, Charlie Rangel Survive Tuesday's Contests?

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Utah holds its state and presidential GOP primary on Tuesday, while New York, Colorado and Oklahoma hold state and congressional contests.

Of these primaries, there are two big contests to keep an eye on: the Utah Republican Senate primary between six-term incumbent Orrin Hatch and Tea Party-challenger Dan Liljenquist, and the Democratic primary in New York’s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel faces a tough primary challenge.

In Utah, senior Sen. Orrin Hatch looks to be well-positioned to win his party’s nomination and, given the strong Republican leaning of the state, reclaim his seat in the fall.  Nevertheless, Hatch, 78, has faced something he hasn’t had to endure in more than 30 years: a primary challenge.

Hatch is being challenged by former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who, at age 37, was just 1 year old when the longtime Congress member was first elected to represent the people of Utah in the Senate.  Polling shows Hatch with a strong lead going into Tuesday.

In New York, Charlie Rangel, the third longest-serving member of Congress, faces an in-party challenge as well, from state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, along with several others.  Rangel has had his share of problems in recent years; the congressman who has served in the House for 42 years was found guilty on 11 out of 12 ethics violations in 2010 and was censured by the House of Representatives.  He was forced to step down from a leadership position on the Ways and Means committee, where he had previously served as chairman.

Rangel, 82, was also slowed down recently after undergoing back surgery in the spring.

But the ethics issues surrounding the congressman were known during his last re-election campaign in 2010 as well (though he had not yet been found guilty and censured) and ultimately, most political observers agree, they won’t be his downfall.  

Rangel faces a new constituency as a result of redistricting in this election and his new district expands to several Hispanic areas of the Bronx, which boosts the Dominican-American Espaillat, who is viewed as Rangel’s strongest challenger.

Rangel has a large cash advantage over Espaillat, raising $1 million to Espaillat’s $300,000.  There are several other challengers in the field as well, including Clyde Williams, a former Democratic National Committee staffer.

Rangel is expected to survive, but the outcome is far from certain.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Utah Senate Race Hits Final Days Amid GOP Confab in Deer Valley

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and fellow Republican Party leaders prepare to convene in Deer Valley, Utah, this weekend for what is shaping up to be the second biggest power gathering of the summer (after the convention, of course), the Utah GOP will have its focus turned on another race -- the Senate primary.

Longtime incumbent Orrin Hatch faces a primary challenge from former state senator and Tea Party candidate Dan Liljenquist, and this weekend marks the final slog before the contest, which will take place on Tuesday, June 26.

Hatch, 78, is currently tied for the title of longest-serving Republican senator -- a distinction he shares with outgoing Sen. Richard Lugar.  He serves as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he’s been in the Senate for 36 years.  His opponent was a 1-year-old when Hatch was first elected to represent the state.

But Hatch faces a problem shared by many of his Republican colleagues in Congress -- an energetic Tea Party challenger.  Hatch was narrowly forced into a primary in April after Liljenquist scored the support of 41 percent of the delegates at Utah’s Republican convention.  Under Utah’s rules, Hatch would have had to receive the support of at least 60 percent of the delegates in order to avoid a runoff.

Liljenquist checks off many of the typical Tea Party boxes: He’s a fierce advocate of less spending who has received the backing of the Tea Party group “FreedomWorks,” and he was endorsed by Rick Santorum.  The rhetoric in the primary has followed similar lines to other Tea-Party-vs.-establishment primary battles we’ve seen so far,  with Liljenquist alleging Hatch is not a true conservative and Hatch saying that he is.

Hatch did earn a distinction not common among the “establishment” candidates -- the endorsement of Sarah Palin.  The woman who is viewed by many as a sort of Tea Party kingmaker described him as “part of the 1 percent of national politicians who I think should be re-elected.”

Hatch has had a major financial advantage over Liljenquist.  He’s raised just less than $10 million, while Liljenquist has raised a little under $1 million, and Hatch has outspent his Tea Party challenger by a 10-to-1 margin.

Hatch also has had another tool in his arsenal -- Mitt Romney.

Romney is very popular in Utah.  In 2008, he won the state’s Republican primary with 89 percent of the vote, and there’s no indication that his popularity has diminished since then.  He endorsed Hatch early, and he appeared in a TV ad supporting the six-term incumbent in March, ahead of the state convention.  He’s campaigned for Hatch in the state more recently, as well.

Liljenquist has attempted to tie himself to Romney as well.  Liljenquist worked for Bain Consulting, an arm of Bain Capital, for several years in the early 2000s, after Romney had left the company, a work experience that he’s highlighted throughout his campaign.

It appears as though Romney won’t be doing any campaigning with Hatch over the weekend.  He has no public events scheduled while in Utah.  Polling indicates that won’t be a problem for Hatch, however.  He appears to have a solid lead over Liljenquist headed into Tuesday’s contest.

The Utah primary will also mark the very end of the 2012 GOP presidential primary cycle.  Utah is the final state to hold a Republican presidential contest.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Campaigns for Hatch in Utah, Against Former Bain Consultant

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Mitt Romney is campaigning for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in the senator’s home state Friday, although the six-term Senate incumbent may not need Romney’s help.

After holding campaign events in Iowa on Friday, Romney travels to Salt Lake City for a photo-op with the long-time senator, who ties with the recently ousted Dick Lugar of Indiana as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate.

Like Lugar and former Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett, Hatch faces a Tea Party challenger who’s backed by the D.C. group FreedomWorks. Both Lugar and Bennett fell to such challengers, Bennett at the Utah state convention in May 2010 and Lugar in May of this year.

Romney was scheduled to meet Hatch at a private airport in Salt Lake City, where the former was already scheduled for high-dollar fundraisers Friday evening.

In early May, Hatch announced that he had been tapped to become a "special policy adviser” to the Romney campaign. Romney filmed a television ad for Hatch last March and also recorded a radio ad for him.

Romney campaigned for Bennett in 2010, without success for the senator. Romney introduced Bennett at the state convention, where Tea Party candidates Mike Lee (now the state’s junior Republican senator) and Tim Bridgewater knocked Bennett off the primary ballot after multiple rounds of convention voting.

“Today he faces an uphill battle at this convention. Some may disagree with a handful of his votes or simply want a new face, but with the sweep and arrogance of the liberal onslaught today in Washington, we need Bob Bennett’s skill and intellect and loyalty and power,” Romney said at the time. His praise for Bennett drew a mixture of cheers and boos.

At the time, Romney’s endorsement of Bennett entailed a hint of political risk. Tea Partiers had yet to warm up to Romney and questioned his conservative dedication through the early parts of the 2012 campaign despite his late outreach. Even so, Romney’s warm greeting at the 2010 convention suggested he is perhaps immune to such risks in Utah.

Hatch’s challenger is Dan Liljenquist, a state senator and, ironically for Romney, a former Bain consultant. Liljenquist worked for Bain’s consulting group, not its private-equity practice where Romney made his name, for two years after law school.

Hatch, however, is better positioned than Bennett or Lugar were. He failed to secure enough votes at the Utah state convention to prevent a June 26 primary, but polling shows him well ahead.

While Bennett (and perhaps less so, Lugar) seemed caught off-guard by their Tea Party challengers, Hatch set to work more aggressively in guarding his re-election chances. He also caught a break when Tea Party-aligned Rep. Jason Chaffetz declined to run against him. Such a challenge would have likely caused second thoughts by other conservatives such as the Club for Growth, which often joins with FreedomWorks to air TV ads on behalf of primary challengers but which is sometimes more selective than other conservative groups in choosing whom to support. The Club sat out Utah’s 2012 GOP Senate primary.

In 2012, even Sarah Palin endorsed Hatch. While it’s always a story when a prominent Republican sides against Tea Partiers in a hotly contested primary, the currently one-sided state of Utah’s primary makes Romney’s appearance for Hatch a relatively noncontroversial one.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Palin Backs Orrin Hatch in Utah GOP Senate Primary

Jeff Fusco/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Palin abandoned her tendency to go with the Tea Party choice, instead backing six-term incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch over state Sen. Dan Liljenquist in the Utah Senate GOP primary and calling him “Mr. Balanced Budget for Utah” in a Facebook post Tuesday night.  Liljenquist is backed by several Tea Party groups including FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth.

“Orrin Hatch is part of the 1 percent,” the statement reads.  “No, not that 1 percent you’ve heard about.  He’s part of the 1 percent of national politicians who I think should be re-elected.  Orrin Hatch is a life-long conservative whose dedication and devotion to the conservative cause and to his beloved and beautiful state of Utah is well documented.”

“Orrin was a Utah state campaign chairman for a fledgling and failing presidential candidate deemed ‘too conservative’ and ‘unelectable’ by the media.  Ironically, that candidate was the man who restored our country to be a ‘shining city on a hill’ -- Ronald Reagan,” the statement went on to say.

The photo with the endorsement is of a young Hatch with Reagan.

Palin praised Hatch in the post, writing “long before the issue of debt was on the forefront of Americans’ minds, Orrin Hatch knew our government would face insolvency if we did not get our budget under control.”

“We know he will use his seniority and influence to dissuade politicians from continuing to raise the debt ceiling without any plan to balance the budget and end these dangerously unsustainable deficits,” Palin says.

Palin has been on a mini-streak of backing upstart candidates over the establishment choices, including the Tea Party’s Richard Mourdock over Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana (Lugar lost) and Deb Fischer’s surprise primary win in Nebraska.  She has also backed the underdog in the Texas Senate GOP primary, Ted Cruz.

But not this time.  In her post, she writes that perhaps Hatch can show them around the Senate, if they all get there.

“We need Orrin’s conservative Reagan-like leadership -- and our new crop of conservative senators Richard Mourdock, Deb Fischer, and Ted Cruz might need some friendly advice finding their way around the Senate,” Palin writes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Address: Sen. Orrin Hatch Urges Vote for Balanced Budget Amendment

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah pushes for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which he says he originally introduced in 1997 but was defeated by one vote in the Senate. Sen. Hatch says that if the amendment had passed back then, the U.S. "fiscal picture" would look very different today.

"Instead of sending that amendment to the states for ratification, and addressing the need for fiscal balance, 14 years later, our nation faces a debt crisis of epic proportions," Hatch says in the address. "Our national debt has gone from roughly $5 trillion in 1997 to over $14 trillion today."

And the debt continues to grow, Hatch adds.  "According to Congress' non-partisan budget scorekeeper, the Congressional Budget Office, the nation's debt could reach an astonishing 101 percent of domestic product in a decade -- with interest payments that could reach over a trillion dollars a year."

Hatch says Washington has a spending problem and the answer to that problem is not to increase taxes.  Instead, Hatch again proposes a Balanced Budget Amendment he says is backed by all 47 GOP senators that will require President Obama to submit a balanced budget every year to be passed by Congress.  The measure would also restrict spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product and for supermajorities in both house of Congress to raise taxes.

"Unfortunately, last week the White House dismissed a Balanced Budget Amendment saying it is not good for the economy, and that our debt isn't a constitutional issue," Hatch says.

But Hatch persistently claims, "A Balanced Budget Amendment is essential to our economy, and our debt is definitely a constitutional issue."

"A Balanced Budget Amendment makes sense; its time has more than come.  Now Congress must act."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Utah Senator Speaks on Tea Party, Soft Leadership of Obama

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Orrin Hatch has kept his Senate career aloft through 34 years and six elections, and he's not about to let Tea Party activists crash it now.

Even though he famously worked across the aisle with his friend Ted Kennedy, and voted for the Wall Street bailout in 2008, Hatch, the Utah Republican, has a simple message he wants to send to the Tea Party.

"I tell them to just look at those people who were on Captain Sullenberger's plane and landed in the Hudson," Hatch told ABC News in an interview.  "They survived because of experience.  And that's what I have.  I have experience that by any measure is conservative and staunchly conservative."

Hatch saw his friend and former colleague, now-former Sen. Bob Bennett, lose a Utah Republican primary last year and he's in no mood to taste that tea.  He has worked hard in recent months to endear himself to conservative activists and the Tea Party.  Hatch, a Mormon who is notoriously polite and soft-spoken on Capitol Hill, has also taken a harder edge in criticizing President Obama.

Last week he told a group of Utah students that the president's health care law is a "one-size-fits-all federal government dumb-ass program," he said, according to the Utah State University Statesman.  "It really is an awful piece of crap."

Hatch apologized for using the strong language, but said there are even tougher sentiments bottled up inside.

"Well, I really shouldn't have made those statements.  You should hear what I really think about those programs," he said.

"I don't talk like that very often but I have to admit I actually feel more deeply about it than those two words.  It is so bad what they're trying to saddle the American public with and the American people with that you can't use bad enough words really.  It is really something that is going to bankrupt our country," he said.

Hatch accused President Obama of being a "soft leader" on everything from Guantanamo Bay to the budget fight.  He called Capitol Hill budget negotiations "a joke."

"Tell me the last time the president really led us," Hatch said.  "He always sits back and lets Congress do the dirty work and he doesn't get involved.  It takes presidential leadership to work on the entitlement programs and he's unwilling, totally unwilling to do anything about it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers Voice Outrage at New Medicare Head

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans unloaded their pent-up frustrations on Dr. Don Berwick Wednesday in his first appearance before Congress since taking charge of Medicare and Medicaid.

“This is pathetic,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, groused at Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing.

Hatch expressed the recurring complaints of Republicans that President Obama never should have put Berwick in charge of an agency that gets more money than the Pentagon without first sending him to Capitol Hill for even a confirmation hearing before this “doggone important committee.”

Just three months after nominating him, President Obama used a recess appointment this summer to put Berwick in his post while the Senate was on break.

Hatch said his constituents were “outraged” by Berwick’s recess appointment and he complained Wednesday’s hearing was too brief to cover the vastness of Republican health care concerns.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning scolded Berwick. “Your recess appointment was an end-run around Congress,” Bunning said. “I can assure you you won’t receive special treatment next year...I expect you’ll be spending a lot of time before the House of Representatives.”

Republicans take control of the House in January. At a minimum, they promise to run Berwick and other Obama administration officials through a series of tough hearings. There’s also a move afoot to repeal the new health care law.

Berwick said that would be a “terrible” outcome. “I can’t think of a worse plan than repealing this law,” he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio