Orrin Hatch Calls Vote On Immigration Bill He Once Co-Sponsored ‘A Cynical Exercise’

Back in 2003, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sponsored S.1545 — the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Back then, the bill attracted co-sponsors like Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sam Brownback (R-KS). All of those Republican senators voted against a more conservative version of the same bill this past Saturday. Hatch simply didn’t bother to show up.

Yet, Hatch couldn’t just leave it at that. The Deseret News reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch said he skipped a vote on the failed DREAM Act over the weekend because it was a “cynical exercise in political charades” by the Senate’s Democratic leadership. […]

“The American people sent a clear message in the November elections that they want Congress to focus on getting the economy moving,” he said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, Senate majority leaders have opted instead to move ahead with show votes aimed at currying favor with their far left political constituencies.”

The Deseret News also notes that, as recently as this past summer, Hatch was singing a much different tune. On July 7, the senator expressed his support of the DREAM Act at a town hall meeting, saying, “A lot of these kids are brought in as infants. They don’t even know that they’re not citizens until they graduate from high school…If they’ve lived good lives and they’ve done good things, why would we penalize them and not let them at least go to school?”

Hatch now claims his remarks were taken out of context.

Hatch’s flip-flop may have something to do with the fact that he’s up for reelection in 2012 and has already been identified as the tea party’s next target.

The other Republican senator from Utah, Bob Bennett, was one of three Republicans who voted in support of the DREAM Act on Saturday. He will be leaving the Senate after being stripped of his party’s nomination earlier this year by a tea party candidate.