Washington (CNN) – On the eve of the Senate’s landmark health care vote, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called the legislation a “lousy bill” that “could wreck our country.”
The Utah Republican told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux Wednesday that Democrats have an “arrogance of power” thanks to their 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority and that “they think that they can do whatever they want regardless of what's right or what's wrong.” He said he wished that there had been more bipartisanship, and that his party needed to have more say in the overall bill.
“If it's just a straight partisan bill that's this important, then you know it's a lousy bill,” Hatch said. “And I can tell you, this is one lousy bill. They can be very proud of what they've done, except that what they've done could wreck our country. And I think we've got to all stand up and start letting them hear from us.”
Hatch again accused his Democratic colleagues of getting special deals – in the form of millions of extra dollars for their states – in return for their votes for cloture. Hatch received $50 million for his amendment for abstinence-only education, but drew a distinction on that funding, because he said he “didn't do that for me. I did that for our children throughout our society.”
“I think that's what's wrong with Washington,” Hatch said. “This is what people complain about - Washington doing things that just get them reelected rather than doing things that, over the long run, are right.”
Although Hatch said there are some parts of the bill he could support – like his Elder Justice Act, which would protect elderly people from abuse in nursing homes. But overall, he said lawmakers shouldn’t “wreck the country” to get amendments that they want passed or extra money for their states.
“And if the bill is good - and it is good, we'll get it passed sooner or later,” Hatch said. And so why would we do that just because we want one thing or another thing?”