Predictions by Utah political insiders on what President Barack Obama's second term may bring.
'With the tax issue off the table and out of the president's hands, we can nowfocus on the No. 1 issue I hear about from Utahns. But the president needs to come to the table and be ready to make some hard decisions about where we can cut spending. Infact, Fitch Ratings just announced that in order for the United States to maintain a solid credit rating, we need to get moving on a credible deficit-reduction plan.'Unfortunately, wejust have not seen that leadership from the president in his first term. I've always been an optimist, so at the beginning of the president's second term, I hope he gets in the game and starts working in a bipartisan fashion to reform Washington and get spending under control just like Utah families do... every day.' - SEN. ORRIN HATCH 'I hope... the president and Congress can learn actually how to get along and work together on solutions to the really significant and critical challenges that arefacing our country. That's what I hope will happen. If history is [any] indication, it won't..., unfortunately.' - BECKY LOCKHART, Utah House speaker
'It will be surprising how much progress is made on budget sensibility. I predict the death knell of the pathetic Washington tradition of dealing with the budget deficit through obstruction and politicians playing to their political base.It is no longer acceptable that a D.C. budget 'compromise' is more spending and more tax cuts, and then punting the difficult decisions to afuture date or afuture Congress.'The Obama administration and Congress will finally begin to deal with the stark reality of an impending economic disaster. The administration will grudgingly accept serious changes in entitlements, and the GOP will swallow defense cuts and tax increases putting the U.S. economy in a position to soar.' - JIM DABAKIS Democratic Salt Lake City senator elect and Utah Democratic Party chairman 'I anticipate increased contention over the implementation of the Affordable CareAct. The ongoing heated battle between conservatives and progressives willfocus on two main arenas: health exchanges and Medicaid. The administration will continue topur sue aggressive health exchange implementation goals, coupled with aggressive deadlines. But the President and [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius must provide states maximum exchange flexibility if they want any measure of success. Make no mistake other states are watching Utah, Idaho, New Mexico and Nevada as we try to develop workable solutions, consistent with conservative principles.If we succeed, other states may decide to shift from federal to state-based exchanges.' - GARY HERBERT, Utah governor 'Throughout President Obama's first term in office, Salt Lake City and other U.S. municipalities have had unprecedented access to, and communication with, the White House. As thepresident takes the oath of office for his second term, we lookforward to a continued close connection. We have great confidence that the president will continue to lead us to afull economic recovery and hope that a Congress that continues to be divided by ideology can find productive, common ground in the name of moving this nation, and our community, forward together.'- RALPH BECKER, Salt Lake City mayor