Park City’s congressman sees little bipartisanship, questions Afghanistan withdrawal, Supreme Court packing
Blake Moore says his first months in office were a ‘very difficult quarter’ at the Capitol
Freshman 1st Congressional District Republican Rep. Blake Moore recently finished his first three months in office, summing up the initial approximately 90 days in Washington as a “very difficult quarter.”
In an interview with The Park Record, Moore said the mood has become better recently with the removal of fences after the insurrection in early January and as Congress moves on after the second impeachment of former President Trump.
But the Republicans and Democrats are not working well together, he said. Moore said the GOP loss of control of the Senate is detrimental to the system of checks and balances. He said President Biden would not be aggressively pushing such a progressive agenda if there was what Moore sees as better balance.
“There is very little bipartisanship right now,” he said. “And that’s to be expected. Democrats have the White House, they have now control — very, very narrow margins but control — over both houses of Congress. They are taking a very opportunistic push. And there’s definitely tension there.”
Moore succeeded the retired Republican Rob Bishop as the representative in the district, which covers a large tract of northern Utah, including Park City and surrounding Summit County. Moore routed his Democratic challenger in November. Darren Parry, the Democrat, won Summit County but was trounced elsewhere in the district as Moore won the open seat. A similar scenario has played out repeatedly over the years in the congressional district with the Democrat in many cases enjoying their best results in the small-population Summit County.
Moore said he is starting to build relationships with Park City officials like Mayor Andy Beerman and officials at the County Courthouse as well as the local business community. He mentioned support for Park City-area issues like the bid for a Winter Olympics and transportation improvements.
Much of the interview, though, was focused on some of the pivotal issues in Washington. He covered topics like the president’s plans to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 and the possibility of adding seats to the Supreme Court, two politically charged topics.
He acknowledged Afghanistan is “a tough, tough question to answer.” He wondered whether the U.S. should have what he called a “residual” presence in Afghanistan, like the nation has kept in Japan and Korea.
“Is there a strategic advantage for us to have that in Afghanistan. If the answer to that question is ‘Yes,’ then we have a small residual force who can protect what flare-ups might be if we were to leave, and there’s a reason to stay,” Moore said, adding, “but if the answer to that question is ‘No, we do not intend to keep a long-term presence in Afghanistan for whatever reason, then I support withdrawal.”
He said he is hesitant to support the Biden plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan. He questioned linking the timeline of a withdrawal to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that led to U.S. involvement.
“I have problems with making this about the 20-year anniversary, making it about that date. That seems more political than tactical to me, and I’m leaning toward real concern of the vacuum that we leave by leaving right now. The vacuum that we leave will cause, what I believe, will cause a flare-up with the Taliban.”
The congressman, meanwhile, spoke about the possibility of the addition of more seats to the Supreme Court. Such a move would be expected to be highly divisive, with the likelihood of Democratic support and Republican opposition. He called the concept “completely a partisan play” by the Democrats.
“They’re frustrated that President Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett and they want … to fire back with a potential packing, adding in four more. It’s just back and forth — next time there’s a president we’re going to get to 17. And then by the time my kids are in college, we’ll have 30 Supreme Court justices,” he said.
He explained that the current Supreme Court, even with a conservative tilt, did not “cower” to pressure by Trump regarding the outcome of the 2020 election.
“They withstood that pressure. Lifetime appointments. They’re committed to the law. We don’t need to make the Supreme Court so political,” Moore said.
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Park City officials on Tuesday are scheduled to reconfigure a key stretch of road in Old Town. The alteration involves the section of Park Avenue between the 9th Street and Deer Valley Drive intersections.