Hatch says Obama meeting was ‘constructive’
Politics • At least the two sides are talking, Utah Republican says.
Published: October 11, 2013 10:25PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 01:18PM
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Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo Sen. Orrin Hatch says Colorado's legalization of small amounts of recreational marijuana could prove a big setback for inititatives to combat drug abuse.

Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch said he and fellow Senate Republicans had a constructive meeting Friday with President Barack Obama, and while there’s no solution yet to the government shutdown at least the two sides are talking.

“The government shutdown is unfair to the millions of Utahns who rightly expect Washington to solve problems — not make problems,” the Utah Republican said. “But what’s also not right is that up to now the president has simply refused to negotiate.”

Call it a negotiation, or a conversation, Obama has now met with Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate in hopes of ending the logjam over the federal budget.

Hatch and the other 45 Republicans from the upper chamber sat down for more than an hour on Friday.

“While we may disagree on many things, there is unanimous agreement that we need to open the federal government and prevent a default,” Hatch said, referring to the deadline next week for Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit or face a default on its bills.

Sen. Mike Lee’s spokesman Brian Phillips said his boss simply heard the same speech from Obama that he’s been giving publicly about how Republicans need to just vote for a budget without conditions. Phillips said the senator was encouraged that Obama invited the senators to meet with him.

tburr@sltrib.com