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Mark O. Hatfield: A Featured Biography


Mark O. Hatfield (R-OR)

First elected to the United States Senate in 1966, Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon legislated to the beat of his own drum during his three decades of Senate service. Senator Hatfield often placed conscience before partisanship and remained steadfast in his views, earning him both admiration and criticism from his colleagues. Shaped by his military service during World War II and his Christian faith, Hatfield never approved a military authorization bill, from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf War of 1991. In 1971 he co-sponsored an amendment calling for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Vietnam. Hatfield staunchly opposed Cold War defense spending and renounced capital punishment. Consistently working across the aisle, he built a rapport with Democratic senators Robert C. Byrd and Edward M. Kennedy, often co-sponsoring major legislation. He is best known for his role as chairman of the Appropriations Committee (1981-1987, 1995-1997), where in 1995 he cast the lone Republican “nay” vote on a GOP-supported Balanced Budget Amendment, which ultimately fell one vote short of passage.