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Utah delegates stand by their shutdown votes


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's congressional delegation are standing by their votes, whether they voted "yes" or "no," on the measure to reopen the government.

Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Jim Matheson voted "yes" on the measure, and all the rest — Senator Mike Lee and Representatives Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Jason Chaffetz — voted "no."

Those that voted "no" said that their votes were based on a larger picture: Standing up for solving federal budget problems and against Obamacare.

Senator Orrin Hatch had a different take, saying that saving the government from default was his priority. He used strong words to describe his vote to raise the debt ceiling and end the shutdown.

"You have to act like adults around here someday. If we'd taken this country into default, I can't begin to tell you that the financial markets will be turned upside down all over the world," Hatch said.

Hatch stopped short of being critical of the rest of Utah's Republicans in Washington, who all say there was more to their votes, which included standing up against Obamacare and dealing with ongoing problems with the nation's debt.

"I could not in good conscience vote to raise the debt ceiling by hundreds of billions of dollars without making real substantive structural changes," Chaffetz said


You have to act like adults around here someday. If we'd taken this country into default, I can't begin to tell you that the financial markets will be turned upside down all over the world.

–Senator Orrin Hatch


"The more I read the bill the senate sent over, the worse it actually became," Bishop said. "A particular concern that I think it overlooked is that they did absolutely nothing about sequestration."

Nationally, that reasoning doesn't wash with many voters. Polls show people wanted the government to avoid defaulting on its obligations and wanted government re-opened, period.

The Hinckley Institute's Kirk Jowers says Republicans are taking a big image hit as a result.

"We've already seen polling in contested senate seats swing dramatically toward the democrat. We've got plenty of time to correct that, but it's absolutely a loss for republicans at this moment," Jowers said.

Senator Mike Lee, who spoke with KSL exclusively today, is unapologetic for his part in pushing the fight against Obamacare.

"(If) those critics want to criticize us for proceeding in a fight we weren't certain we could win, then they've got a fair point there. But there are some battles that need to be fought whether you're certain you could win at the outset," Lee said.

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Richard Piatt

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