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Stay up to date on all the latest from the campaign trail with KUER's coverage of the 2014 Mid-Term Elections.

With More Power, Hatch Targets Obamacare and Taxes

Office of Senator Orrin Hatch

Now that Republicans have a majority in the US Senate, Utah’s senior Senator Orrin Hatch will have more power and influence. He says he wants to try again to repeal Obamacare and roll back a tax on medical devices.

As Republicans celebrated election night, Senator Orrin Hatch was thinking about what could be accomplished with Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell as majority leader. For one thing, he wants to try again to get rid of a 2.3 percent medical device tax passed as part of the Affordable Care Act.

“That has just basically killed a number of companies in this country that are very innovative companies. We’ve got to get rid of that,” Hatch told KUER.  

Republicans tried to repeal the tax in a stopgap spending bill, but Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked consideration of the amendment. Reid has long supported the medical device tax, arguing that companies have been making huge profits, which have gone up since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Hatch also has his eye on that legislation.

“We’ve got to hopefully repeal Obamacare, but if not, we’ve got to then amend it and at least try to get it so it functions better than it does now,” he says.

As a ranking member of the Senate finance committee, Hatch is in line to be the next chair. In that position, he says he will push for tax reform. He’s also expected to be named President Pro Tem of the Senate. That makes him the second highest ranking official in the body. He’ll be responsible for signing legislation, and he’ll be 3rd in line for the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House. 

“It’s an honor for Utah,” Hatch says. “It’s an honor for me, and I’m going to try to do my dead level best as I always have.”

The position comes with extra staff and security, including an armed detail. The 80-year-old Senator has said his seventh term will be his last.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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