WASHINGTON -- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is so mad about the Senate's failure to extend tax breaks to businesses, he's having murderous thoughts.
According to a CQ Roll Call report, Hatch vented to a business crowd on Thursday about how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the amendment process for a bill in May that would have extended a host of expiring business tax breaks for two years. Reid opted to fill the amendment tree, a procedural step aimed at limiting amendments. Republicans refused to support the bill without amendments, the tax breaks were not extended, and Hatch has not forgotten.
"I'm speaking as softly as I can; I'm ready to kill somebody,” Hatch said as he left the stage at the event.
Hatch spokesman Matthew Harakal said the senator's rage was directed more generally toward the fact that Reid regularly fills the amendment tree. Hatch feels that practice has "led to a dysfunctional Senate," Harakal said.
Plenty of bills have gone nowhere in Congress this year, including comprehensive immigration reform, an extension of unemployment benefits, energy efficiency legislation, a long-term highway funding bill, Voting Rights Act legislation and all 12 annual appropriations bills, to name a handful.
But not to worry when it comes to extending tax breaks for businesses. Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, reassured the room that it would get done by the end of the year.