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Utah politicians praise congressional budget deal, criticize partisan politics

Photo: Chris Stewart | Twitter

A former Utah congresswoman and two current members of the state’s congressional delegation are weighing in on big issues addressed by US lawmakers this week with a measure of both praise and criticism.

Mia Love: No one is doing their job

Former Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, joined host Boyd Matheson on “Inside Sources” to talk about the budget deal passed by the House on Thursday.

“No one [in Washington, D.C.] is doing their job,” Love said. “The United States government has gotten so bad that they’re not even interested in trying to at least curb this spending problem. We did part of it with tax reform, making sure the economy is running, making sure we are allowing people to invest to keep a little more of their money so we can put more into the economy so we are growing, but Washington has yet to do its job in cutting spending.”

Matheson said he agreed with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on the current budget deal: “Both sides this week so easily agreeing to fiscal defeat isn’t bipartisanship, it’s broken governance.”

“Congress needs to do its job and enacting laws and curbing this ever-growing government,” Love said.

Mitt Romney on U.S. debt

Boyd Matheson asked Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah about his views on the two-year budget deal the House passed on Thursday by a vote of 284-189.

“The White House and the Democrats have worked out a deal, but unfortunately it raises dramatically the amount of debt by two and a half-trillion dollars over the next 10 years. I just feel it’s something I can’t support,” Romney said. “We’re going to have to do a better and job and see if we can’t wrestle this extraordinary deficit down to earth.”

Matheson said he thought it was extraordinary that under the bill the House passed the debt ceiling wasn’t just lifted but suspended altogether until July 2021.

“We spend about four trillion dollars as a country, and we only take in taxes three trillion,” said Romney. “This can’t go on forever without burdening ourselves and coming generations with huge debts and massive interest payments.”

Lessons learned

What can Washington learn about how spending is done at the Utah Legislature, Matheson asked?

“In Utah, our legislators and governor insist we’re going to balance the budget every year. In Washinton, people have figured out that we can borrow money from other countries and wealthy people, and they’ll loan us money so we don’t have to balance the books. You can do that for a while, but at some point, it gets to be a real burden.

“We have to let people in Washington know that we can’t keep going on spending massively more than we take in. And we have to reform some of our spending programs, particularly the automatic spending programs if we are going to get ourselves into balance,” Romeny said.

The budget bill comes up for a vote next week in the Senate.

Stewart on Mueller testimony

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart, who joined Boyd Matheson on “Inside Sources,” said Democrats overestimated the impact of special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony Wednesday, leading to an inevitable disappointment.

“We’ve had the Mueller Report, and most Americans haven’t read and it’s long and complicated,” Stewart, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said.

His Democratic colleagues told him, “and we’re going to do the movie version, and it’s going to dazzle them, and everyone’s going to come up away thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, we have to impeach the president and start impeachment by Thursday.’ There just isn’t any more new information that’s can come out of this. This thing has been investigated for three years [by] the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the FBI, and DOJ [Department of Justice] and now Mr. Mueller have all completed extensive investigations. And we haven’t had anything new for a long time,” Stewart said.

Questioning the leaks

Matheson asked Stewart about his line of questioning of Mueller about how leaks surrounding the investigation may have undermined the trust of Americans in the process.

“Of the 25 identified leaks, every single one of them was embarrassing to the president. It was never leaked that they found no evidence of collusion,” Stewart said. “It was never leaked anything positive toward the administration. It was all embarrassing and negative.

“I just felt Mr. Mueller needed to answer that question ‘Are you aware that these leaks are taking place because surely you were? And more importantly, did you do anything to stop them, did you do anything to identify those people who were talking to the media when they should not have been?”

Stewart said most people are willing to accept the conclusions of an investigation if they view the process as being fair.

Matheson said Americans can deal with tragedy and crisis as long as they know they have the truth.

As far as the Mueller investigation goes, Matheson asked Stewart, where does the nation go from here?

The American people have come to the conclusion that there’s nothing there that’s impeachable, Stewart said.

“I think the majority of Democrats in the House have realized that,” he said.

He added that he wants the progressive Democrats in Congress to keep talking about impeachment because there is nothing better for Republicans’ re-election efforts.