Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, tells National Review Online that he will probably not back the “Gang of Six” proposal. “They may be trying to be angelic, but the devil is in the details,” he says. “No matter which way you look at it, there is going to be a trillion-dollar increase in revenues.”
Hatch has specific reservations about how the plan targets the Pentagon. “I am not sure that you can count on the $3.7 trillion in cuts,” he says. “But I know you can count on one thing: that it will take about $900 billion out of the Department of Defense.
“There is no question we need to get huge savings, but do we need to take almost a trillion out of defense over ten years? I am not one for doing that, nor am I one for increasing taxes,” Hatch says. “I am a big supporter of ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance.’ I really think that is the way to go.”
On Tuesday night, the House passed “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” a fiscal-reform package sponsored by the Republican Study Committee. It faces an uphill climb, however, in the Democrat-controlled Senate. In light of those odds, the “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of lawmakers, is making a last-minute push for its debt-reduction plan.
“The Republicans in the ‘Gang’ are dear friends, sincere conservatives, and they should not be criticized for coming up with a program that could end the tremendous conflict we are in now,” Hatch says. “I want to give them credit for all the months and months of hard work.”
Still, he says, “I see some real problems.”