Wednesday Q+A With Sen. Orrin Hatch

The Republican stalwart on Gorsuch, tax reform, and his not-quite-announced run for another term.

Sen. Orrin Hatch
Chet Sussln
Alex Rogers
Add to Briefcase
Alex Rogers
March 28, 2017, 8 p.m.

Or­rin Hatch, the longest-serving Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or, not only chairs the Fin­ance Com­mit­tee, but he has a prom­in­ent role on the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee as it con­siders the nom­in­a­tion of Neil Gor­such to the Su­preme Court. Hatch spoke to Alex Ro­gers about health care, tax re­form, and his po­ten­tial run for an­oth­er term.

You’ve con­sidered the nom­in­a­tion of every Su­preme Court justice on the bench, and seen the con­firm­a­tion battles get more and more par­tis­an, since you came here in 1977. Now Demo­crats are threat­en­ing to fili­buster Judge Gor­such. Would you sup­port chan­ging the Sen­ate rules to make sure that the nom­in­ee gets con­firmed next week?

Well, let’s put it this way: We in­tend to con­firm Judge Gor­such. And we will con­firm him. So whatever it takes, we’re go­ing to have to do. I would prefer that the Demo­crats not push us in­to a po­s­i­tion where we have to use some ex­traordin­ary means that are with­in the rules, but nev­er­the­less ex­traordin­ary. And I think this is the wrong per­son to do that to be­cause Gor­such has come off so well in the hear­ings and throughout the pro­cess.

Mov­ing on to polit­ics, you’ve de­cided to run for reelec­tion. You’re up in 2018—

Well, I haven’t made that de­cision yet. I know I made a com­ment that I’ll likely run for reelec­tion. I haven’t made that fi­nal de­term­in­a­tion. There are a bunch of reas­ons to do it, a bunch of reas­ons not to do it. For in­stance, Elaine and I have been to­geth­er 60 years, and she’s been a won­der­ful wife and she’s put up with me go­ing 18 hours a day back here and then out there in Utah; I have to take her in­to con­sid­er­a­tion as well. Plus, I’ve es­tab­lished an Or­rin G. Hatch Found­a­tion, and I have to work a little bit on that as well. So these are things that are pulling at me. If I could get a really out­stand­ing per­son to run for my po­s­i­tion, I might very well con­sider it.

Do you have any people in mind?

Well, Mitt Rom­ney would be per­fect.

Has he ex­pressed an in­terest to you?

I’ve ex­pressed it to him. [Laughs.] I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for Amer­ica.

There are oth­er people who have been men­tioned as pos­sible can­did­ates, in­clud­ing Evan McMul­lin and Jon Hunts­man.

If I de­cide to run again, and I very well may, I’m go­ing to win.

The Amer­ic­an Health Care Act failed to pass the House on Fri­day. Is re­peal and re­place over?

Well, keep in mind that was a very nar­row loss. And they can turn that around. I think a lot de­pends on Speak­er [Paul] Ry­an and what he wants to do. … I don’t know wheth­er he’ll try to bring that up again, but we have to move on to tax re­form. And that’s maybe even more im­port­ant than the health care bill.

Must they drop the bor­der-tax pro­pos­al in the House?

I am con­cerned about it. I think any­body should be con­cerned about it be­cause you don’t know how re­tail­ers in this coun­try are go­ing to take it. They take it very badly right now. I’m not rul­ing it out, but I lean against it.

Does this have to be de­fi­cit-neut­ral?

I don’t think it has to be de­fi­cit-neut­ral. I think that’s a good goal, but if we can get a tax-re­form bill that would stim­u­late this eco­nomy, even though it’s not de­fi­cit-neut­ral, I’ll do it. I’m open to good ideas from wherever they come.

What do you think about this pres­id­ent?

He’s really dif­fer­ent, but I find that re­fresh­ing. I was one of two sen­at­ors who sup­por­ted him—and I’m glad I did. He’s not a politi­cian. He’s a mover and a shaker and a busi­ness­man.

Is Chuck Schu­mer a deal-maker in the mold of some of your former col­leagues?

Used to be. Chuck and I got along very well. I think very highly of him. I hap­pen to be the strongest non-Jew­ish sup­port­er of Is­rael in the world, and I think I’m just as strong as any Jew­ish per­son in sup­port of Is­rael. But we be­came very good friends. I’m very dis­ap­poin­ted—the route he has taken in these first few months. I un­der­stand to a de­gree be­cause they were bit­ter about [Judge Mer­rick Gar­land] not get­ting through.

Do you re­gret that?

No. When we get Gor­such on there it’s go­ing to be a much bet­ter Court, al­though I con­sidered [Gar­land] a very fine man. … [I let him know] I would vote for him when Hil­lary [Clin­ton] won and that I would help him get through. But I also said Hil­lary has got to win. And he knew that too. He was very adult about it. A won­der­ful man.

What We're Following See More »
PROBE CAME FROM INQUIRY INTO MANAFORT’S FINANCES
Mueller Investigating Tony Podesta and His Firm
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
OFF TO MICHIGAN, SURPRISE TRIP
FLOTUS to Kick Off Anti-Bullying Initiative
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"First lady Melania Trump is making good on a promise she made earlier this year to combat childhood bullying, taking a surprise trip Monday to a middle school in a Detroit suburb." She is bringing awareness to the problem with a campaign she found called #NoOneEatsAlone, which encourages kids to be inclusive.

Source:
SURPRISE VISIT
Tillerson in Kabul
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
WITHOUT NAMING HIM, CALLS OUT “BONE SPUR”
McCain Needles Trump on Vietnam
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS
SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY
House Intel Will Interview Trump Digital Director
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Donald Trump’s campaign digital director, Brad Parscale, will be interviewed Tuesday by the House Intelligence Committee, his first appearance before any of the panels examining the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Parscale confirmed his scheduled appearance. The Senate committees also probing interference haven’t scheduled time with Mr. Parscale, he said, declining to comment further."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login