Former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist accused Sen. Orrin Hatch of “fiscal child abuse” during their only debate Friday, lacing into the six-term incumbent for repeatedly voting to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.
“Sen. Hatch has held the line on overall tax raises,” Liljenquist said during a one-hour GOP Senate primary debate on KSL radio in Utah. “What he has not held the line is the worst kind of taxation, where you spend a future generation’s worth of wealth and you foist it on a whole bunch of Americans who didn’t have the chance to vote for you, with interest.”
“That is fiscal child abuse and that’s what’s happened in this Congress under your watch as you’ve voted over and over to raise the debt ceiling,” Liljenquist added. “That is a tax increase, that you’ve deferred on a whole generation of Americans.”
Hatch, who is favored to survive the June 26 primary challenge, responded with indignation.
“Apparently I’m responsible for everything that’s wrong in the federal government. That’s total BS and everybody knows it,” Hatch said, before arguing, as he has throughout the race, that his seniority is a boon to the state.
”Everybody who knows me knows that I’m conservative, that I fight for conservative principles, I fight to keep spending under control, I fight to make bills work. And almost everything he defines as being important is in my committee,” he replied, seated just a few feet from Liljenquist in a studio.
Seizing on his only opportunity to confront Hatch in person, Liljenquist repeatedly assailed the incumbent for his economic record, using charged language.
When Hatch said his experience is critical to keeping the state’s Air Force base, Liljenquist accused the senator of employing “the politics of fear.”
“No one senator is too big to fail,” Liljenquist quipped.
Hatch then doubled down on the point, calling it a “daily, continuous” struggle to keep federal officials from closing Hill Air Force base.
“Anybody who doesn’t know that really shouldn’t be representing our state,” Hatch snapped.
When Liljenquist escalated the argument, Hatch lost his cool for a moment, interjecting, “I’m getting a little aggravated because I think some of these
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