Tea party threat defused, Hatch wants to do a deal

by
July 23, 2012

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Rare is the Tea Party-tested Republican senator who hangs an image of the Kennedys’ Hyannisport home over his desk and shows off the painter’s personal inscription.

“Orrin,” reads the note, scribbled below a cobalt-blue sea. “We’ll leave the light on at the compound for you anytime. Ted Kennedy, ’91.”

The beacon of bipartisanship that defined their odd-couple relationship still guides Utah’s Orrin Hatch. He didn’t advertise it as he wooed and won over the tea partiers who, two years ago, toppled fellow conservative Robert Bennett from his Senate perch.

But now, with his state’s Senate GOP nomination in hand and re-election to a seventh term all but assured, Hatch, 78, can think about his legacy.

He’s very clear about what he wants: As the senior Republican in the Senate, his party’s top voice on the tax-writing Finance Committee, Hatch wants a deal that restructures the tax code while also slowing and even stopping the government’s accumulation of debt. To get it, he says he’ll practice the art of compromise over the take-my-marbles-and-leave mentality that has tied up Congress in recent years.

“There has to be a course correction,” Hatch said in a recent interview. “If I am chairman of the Finance Committee, you can bet your sweet bippy I will take a leading role.”

To read more, visit:  http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/23/4650786/tea-party-threat-defused-hatch.html

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