WASHINGTON D.C. – Sen. Orrin Hatch said he will support the Bipartisan Budget Act, legislation negotiated by House and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., which passed the House of Representatives on Friday. Sen. Mike Lee has said he will not support it.
Hatch issued the following statement Monday announcing his support for the proposed bill:
This agreement isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be, and it isn’t what I would have written. But sometimes the answer has to be yes. The reality is that Republicans only control one-half of one-third of government. Ultimately, this agreement upholds the principles conservatives stand for and, with Democrats controlling the White House and the Senate, it is the best we could hope for.
I know that crafting this budget was hard fought, and it’s built on the necessary consensus that reflects divided government. I appreciate the hard work of Paul Ryan, Speaker Boehner, and House Republicans in crafting this commendable compromise that reduces our debt over the long-term, prevents another government shutdown, and stops the budget battles that have rocked America with economic uncertainty and political pessimism. Much more work needs to be done to address the number one drivers of our country’s debt – our entitlement programs. But my hope is that this budget agreement paves the way to greater stability, lasting deficit reduction, and the political will to tackle those challenges in the near future.
Lee issued two statements opposing the bill, the first last Wednesday before the House passed the legislation:
Rather than enacting reforms to make government more efficient, the budget deal makes more government more expensive. Sequestration is far from ideal, but at least it forced Congress get serious about excessive spending. This deal cuts into the modest gains taxpayers have won since 2011, by trading concrete spending reductions over the next two years for theoretical spending cuts a decade from now. In the meantime, the deal raises taxes on all air travellers, so that Congress can continue to ignore both waste in discretionary spending and the ticking fiscal time-bomb of our entitlement programs.
I do not envy House Republicans in their task of negotiating a budget with a Senate majority and president hostile to the very idea of having one. But the deal they have struck is not one I can support.
If there is a silver lining in this deal, it at least further confirms the need for Republicans to finally develop a comprehensive conservative reform agenda. Real reform involves not simply cutting dysfunctional programs, but fixing them so government doesn’t cost so much in the first place. And as Democrats continue to hide from those reforms at the behest of their special-interest clients, Republicans must begin to advance our ideas openly and transparently, not behind closed doors up against artificial deadlines set by the forces of the status quo.
The second statement, issued Monday, argues that the state of Utah would lose approximately $32 million in payments from the federal government:
Under the Mineral Leasing Act, the federal government leases federal land for the development of energy, minerals and other materials, and shares the revenue with the states in which the leases are held. The revenue is currently split evenly between the states and the federal government. Section 302 of the budget deal would only decrease what the states receive, leaving the federal portion intact. That would mean a total reduction of $415 million for the states, with roughly $32 million coming from Utah.
It is unfortunate that the budget targets the mineral leasing program. Many of Utah’s rural communities depend on this funding and we shouldn’t be pulling the rug out from under them when there are so many other wasteful and ineffective programs in the federal government to reform.
To learn more about the Bipartisan Budget Act, click here.
To read the text of the Bipartisan Budget Act presented to the House, click here.
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