Critical Condition

Hatch: Biden Gambit Will ‘Blow Up the Senate’

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) predicts that Democrats will use Vice President Joe Biden to thwart GOP opposition against Obamacare in the debate’s final hours. That strategy, he says, “will blow up the Senate.”

“During floor consideration of a reconciliation bill, with Biden in the chair, they will seek to bypass Republican amendments, even if the parliamentarian rules our amendments germane,” Hatch says, in an interview with National Review Online. “They want to limit debate to 20 hours, so they will use the vice president to call any amendment dilatory and overrule the parliamentarian. It would be a terrible process, and an arrogant strategy that abuses the rules and the trust of the American people. These people are so left wing, and want power so badly. If they go down that path, and pull this kind of stuff to get their way, it will blow up the Senate.”

Undeterred, Hatch says that Senate Republicans are already prepping to fight Democratic efforts to suppress GOP amendments. “Our conference is in the process of discussing that strategy right now,” he says. “No option will be overlooked. There is a distinct possibility that the Democrats’ very partisan exercise could shut down the Senate. Let’s face it — if they’re going to play this kind of game then we will make sure they have one heck of a rough time from this day forward. There are all kinds of ways we could shut down the Senate, and I know them all.”

When he looks across the Capitol, Hatch sees more disarray. “Nancy Pelosi does not have the votes,” he says. “She admits that she can’t solve the abortion problem. If she had even 200 or 210 votes, she’d be in the floor fight right now. You can take that to the bank.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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