Hatch and Lee split on budget deal vote
Washington • Utah's Republican senators split Tuesday on advancing a two-year budget compromise toward final passage Wednesday, with Sen. Orrin Hatch joining 11 of his GOP colleagues to back the measure.
The budget deal was cleared for a final vote by a 67-33 margin.
It is the first such agreement between Republicans and Democrats in years and is aimed at staving off another government shutdown such as the one the nation saw in October. Hatch said the compromise isn't perfect but it's the best bargain Republicans could hope for in the current political climate.
"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," Hatch said. "I know that crafting this budget was hard fought, and it's built on the necessary consensus that reflects divided government."
Sen. Mike Lee said the budget deal isn't much of a deal for taxpayers.
"The Senate would be doing a severe disservice to the American people during these tough economic times if it were to pass this government-growing, economy-killing budget," Lee said in a fundraising email Tuesday. "In fact, the worst thing we could do in our current economic situation is to raise taxes, increase the size and scope of government, and further infringe on the freedom of the American people."
All of Utah's House members supported the measure last week.