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D.C. Notebook: Hatch calls Obama 'weak' over NSA leaker

Published June 30, 2013 4:43 pm

Politics • Says U.S. rivals enjoying Obama's term
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sen. Orrin Hatch weighed in last week on Russia's refusal to hand over the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden despite pressure from the United States that the country must extradite him back to America. But Hatch says it's President Barack Obama's fault.

"It's an insult to us and I have to say that this would not have happened under [President Ronald] Reagan; this would not have happened under [President George] Herbert Walker Bush; it would not have happened under [President Bill] Clinton and it would not have happened under [President] George W. Bush," Hatch said off the Senate floor.

"I have to say they know our president is weak," the Utah Republican added. "I'm one who likes the president but they know he's weak. They know he's so fearful in getting involved in balance of power, foreign affairs [issues], and they're playing on it and they're enjoying it."

'Federally stupid' • Rep. Rob Bishop ripped apart the Senate's border security plan, saying the plan is a waste of billions of dollars for hiring and training 20,000 new agents along the border with Mexico.

"In typical 'Senate think' they have seen a problem and have decided to throw money at the problem, even if a lack of funding is not the problem which they are facing," he said.

Bishop has long called for waiving environmental laws on border lands, which he believes will have a bigger impact on reducing illegal immigration than doubling the size of the police force. The Senate legislation doesn't do that, but a corresponding House bill would.

Bishop,fumbled his oversized posters while trying to make his pitch, jokingly saying "thank you Vanna White," when an aide helped him out, but it didn't break the frustration inherent in his five-minute speech.

"Federal law," he said, "is stopping the federal Border Patrol from going on federal land to do a federal purpose which is federally stupid."

Spotted • Hatch on Tuesday at the Capitol Hill bar Irish Times, meeting on potential tax reform ideas at the place where the 1986 tax deal was hammered out.

Hatch said he didn't order a beer: "You kidding? Listen, I'm sure the Lord never wanted me to start drinking. So I've never started."

Congrats: To Kayla Stewart, daughter of Rep. Chris Stewart, and to James and John, twin sons of Sen. Mike Lee, who all headed out on missions for the LDS Church last week on the same day.

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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com, mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.






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