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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Senator Lee on Hatch-Chaffetz and the McConnell Plan

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Straight talk from my interview Tuesday with Senator Mike Lee:

HH: Senator, before we go back to The Freedom Agenda, a couple of quick questions. A friend of mine, I’m sure a friend of yours, Orrin Hatch, is frequently on this program. A friend of yours, a friend of mine, Jason Chaffetz, is also on this program. Have you decided yet who you’re going to support in that showdown in Utah?

ML: No. What I’ve decided, essentially, is that I intend to stay out of that race. I’ve got two good friends who could end up running against each other. And in the event that they do, I intend to stay out of that race altogether, and let the voters of Utah decide it without my input.

HH: All right, and in terms of being part of the Republican caucus in the Senate, Mitch McConnell’s come up with a backup plan on the debt ceiling. Will you support that if the balanced budget amendment fails in the United States Senate?

ML: Absolutely not. No, never, under any circumstances would I ever support that. Look, I like Senator McConnell, I respect him as our Senate minority leader. But this was a bad idea. Everybody has a bad idea once in a while, and this one was a doozy. The idea behind that is to allow the President to raise his own debt limit to the tune of about a trillion dollars, and to require him each time he raises it to make a series of spending cut proposals to Congress, which are not binding and don’t really have any legal effect, and then apparently to give Republicans clearance, it would allow Congress to vote on a resolution of disapproval, saying that we don’t like the fact that the President just exercised the authority that Congress gave him a few months ago. But that would then be subject to a presidential veto. And so the resolution of disapproval would be basically meaningless. We have said all along as Republicans that we can’t raise the debt limit without attaching serious conditions. And we know that we are messing with our credit rating if we raise the debt limit without serious, permanent, structural spending reform mechanisms being put in place, things that can’t be circumvented. This accomplishes none of that. All it accomplishes is it would put in place a mechanism to allow Republicans to shift blame to the other party. But it’s such a thinly-veiled blame-shifting game that it won’t ever serve that cynical, political purpose. And I was elected to solve problems, not shift blame to other parties.

Read the whole thing here.

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