Hatch lauds GOP accomplishments; Wilson questions 'love fest' with Trump

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SALT LAKE CITY — Despite obstruction from Democrats and "vicious" treatment in the media, Republicans came through this year, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Friday.

"Promises made in 2016 have become promises kept in 2017," he said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Hatch said he doesn't want to hear anyone claim that the president and Congress haven't gotten things done.

Meantime, President Donald Trump during the signing of the GOP tax bill Friday again singled out Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, for his work on the massive overhaul.

"Orrin Hatch, the chairman, made a beautiful speech the other day in front of the White House, an absolutely brilliant, beautiful speech, and we appreciated and I appreciated it. Hardworking," the president said.

During a Republican celebration of the tax plan Wednesday on the South Lawn, Hatch called Trump "one heck of a leader" and said his presidency could not only be the best in generations but ever.

Trump is pushing the seven-term senator to run for re-election, which some say is a move to keep former GOP presidential nominee and Trump nemesis Mitt Romney from getting into the race. Hatch has said he is running again but won't announce a final decision until after the first of the year.

Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, a Democrat, is campaigning for Hatch's seat. Hatch, she said, used to be a check and balance on the presidential administration, but not anymore.

"I don't understand the love fest between Hatch and Trump, she said during a press conference Thursday at which she condemned the Republican tax plan.


Wilson said she hasn't always agreed with Hatch but appreciates the work he has done for Utah over the years.

"However, it seems to me that Orrin Hatch is doubling down at every turn at the actions of Donald Trump," she said. "Trump wants it, Trump gets it. Orrin Hatch is in a position to deliver for Donald Trump."

In his speech Friday, Hatch recited a list of GOP accomplishments in 2017, including judicial appointments, business deregulation and policies to "unleash" American energy production and "reform" public lands designations and renew state and local control over Western lands.

Promises made in 2016 have become promises kept in 2017.

–Sen. Orrin Hatch

"On nearly every front, from education to justice issues and everything in between, there’s substantial progress," he said.

Hatch said the Trump administration and Congress delivered the most "consequential and far-reaching" tax reform package in 30 years. And on top of that, they eliminated the Obamacare individual mandate, he said, adding "thank goodness."

"When other administrations, when other sessions of Congress, couldn’t get it done, we did," Hatch said.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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