Current Position: US Senator since 2011
Candidate: 2022 US Senator
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining – Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights – Committee on the Judiciary
The mission of my office is to drive the message of constitutionally limited government, while being accessible, responsive, and connected to the citizens of Utah. I will work to restore the federal government to its constitutionally limited scope by supporting a balanced budget amendment, term limits, earmark reform, entitlement reform, peace through military strength, and measures designed to promote energy independence.
Mike Lee To Biden Nominee: Your Comments Are ‘An Insult’ To The Civil Rights Movement
Source: Government page
– September 28, 2021
Utah Sen. Mike Lee railed against President Joe Biden’s decision to force thousands of federal employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination or lose their jobs. He also turned his ire toward a proposed rule requiring some private companies to also mandate the vaccine or implement weekly coronavirus testing.
“President Biden now wants to force employers to act as a sort of medical police force. They must impose a vaccine mandate on their workforce or be forced to pay a heavy fine,” Lee said. “Threatening the employment of millions of Americans and making employers become enforcers is not how our country will return to normal.”
Earlier this month, Biden announced he was mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all federal employees and contractors as a term of their employment, starting Nov. 23. That requirement also includes workers at federally funded health care facilities.
Biden also tasked the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule requiring large businesses with 100 or more employees to either require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. Those who don’t comply would face financial penalties. That rule has still not been made public, so the specifics remain unknown.
Lee has declared legislative war on Biden’s push to require the vaccine. Last week he introduced nine bills targeting Biden’s forthcoming vaccine mandate.
Source: Government page
Elected in 2010 as Utah’s 16th Senator, Mike Lee has spent his career defending the fundamental liberties of all Americans and advocating for America’s founding constitutional principles.
Senator Lee acquired a deep respect for the Constitution early in life while watching his father, Rex E. Lee, serve as the Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan. He attended most of his father’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, giving him a unique and up-close understanding of government.
Lee graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Political Science, and served as BYU’s Student Body President in his senior year. He graduated from BYU’s Law School in 1997 and went on to serve as law clerk to Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and then with future Supreme Court Justice Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Lee spent several years as an attorney with the law firm Sidley & Austin specializing in appellate and Supreme Court litigation, and then served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Salt Lake City arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Lee served the state of Utah as Governor Jon Huntsman’s General Counsel and was later honored to reunite with Justice Alito, now on the Supreme Court, for a one-year clerkship. He returned to private practice in 2007.
Throughout his career, Lee earned a reputation as an outstanding practitioner of the law based on his sound judgment, abilities in the courtroom, and thorough understanding of the Constitution.
Lee and his wife Sharon live in Utah County, and have three children, John, James, and Eliza. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a two-year mission for the Church in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Senator Lee serves as the Ranking Republican on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, and on the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining.
In addition, Senator Lee continues to lead Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee as the Ranking Member, after spending the last two Congresses as Vice Chairman and Chairman, respectively. He also serves on the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.
James V. Hansen Federal Building
324 25th Street, Suite 1410
Ogden, Utah 84401
Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building
125 South State, Suite 4225
Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Office of Senator Michael S. Lee
196 East Tabernacle Street Suite #21
St. George, UT 84770
361A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation
- Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security
- Subcommittee on Space and Science
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Subcommittee on National Parks
- Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining (Ranking)
- Subcommittee on Water and Power
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights (Ranking)
- Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism
- Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights
- Subcommittee on the Constitution
- Joint Economic Committee
- Special Committee on Aging
Lee began his career as a clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah before clerking for Samuel Alito, who was then a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. From 2002 to 2005, Lee was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah. He joined the administration of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, serving as the general counsel in the governor’s office from 2005 to 2006. Lee again clerked for Alito after he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2010, during the Tea Party movement, Lee entered the party caucus process to challenge incumbent three-term Republican senator Bob Bennett. He defeated Bennett and business owner Tim Bridgewater during the nominating process at the Utah Republican Party convention. Lee won the Republican primary, and defeated Democratic nominee Sam Granato in the general election. He was reelected in 2016 and became the dean of Utah’s congressional delegation when Representative Rob Bishop retired in January 2021. Lee chaired the Joint Economic Committee from 2019 to 2021.
Lee pursued a series of extraconstitutional strategies following the 2020 presidential election to attempt to overturn the results, but ultimately voted to certify the election.
Early life and education
Lee was born in Mesa, Arizona on June 4, 1971, the son of Janet (née Griffin) and Rex E. Lee, who was Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan. Lee’s older brother Thomas Rex Lee is a justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
Lee’s family moved to Provo, Utah, one year later, when his father became the founding dean of Brigham Young University‘s J. Reuben Clark Law School. While Lee spent about half of his childhood years in Utah, he spent the other half in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. His father served first as the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1975 to 1976, and then as the Solicitor General of the United States from 1981 to 1985. Lee is of English, Swiss, and Danish descent.
After graduating from Timpview High School in 1989, Lee attended Brigham Young University. He served as the president of BYUSA,[a] serving together with his father, who was then president of BYU. He graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. Lee then attended BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he was a member of the BYU Law Review and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1997.
After law school, Lee clerked for Judge Dee Benson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah from 1997 to 1998, then for Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Samuel Alito of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1998 to 1999. Lee then entered private practice at the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Sidley Austin, specializing in appellate and Supreme Court litigation. In 2002, Lee left Sidley and returned to Utah to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City, preparing briefs and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He served as general counsel to Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007, Lee again clerked for Alito, who had recently been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Afterward, Lee returned to private practice in Utah, joining the Salt Lake City office of the law firm Howrey LLP.
As an attorney, Lee also represented Class A low-level radioactive waste facility provider EnergySolutions Inc. in a highly publicized dispute between the company and the Utah public and public officials that caused controversy during his first Senate election. Utah’s government had allowed the company to store radioactive waste in Utah as long as it was low-grade “Class A” material. When the company arranged to store waste from Italy, many objected that the waste was foreign and could be more radioactive than permitted. Lee argued that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution allowed the company to accept foreign waste and that the waste could be reduced in grade by mixing it with lower-grade materials, while the state government sought to ban the importation of foreign waste using an interstate radioactive waste compact. EnergySolutions eventually abandoned its plans to store Italian radioactive waste in Utah, ending the dispute, with the 10th U.S. Circuit court later ruling that the compact had the power to block foreign radioactive waste from being stored in Utah.
Lee ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. When campaigning, he focused on the size of the federal government. He said the U.S. Constitution needed to be amended to create a flat-tax system and impose term limits on members of Congress. Senators would be allowed up to two terms and representatives up to six terms under the proposal.
At the Republican State Convention, he received 982 votes (28.75%) on the first ballot, to Tim Bridgewater‘s 26.84% and incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Bennett‘s 25.91%. Bridgewater won the second and third ballots to win the party endorsement. Both Bridgewater and Lee received enough support to have their names placed on the primary ballot.
In the June 22 primary election, Lee won the Republican nomination with 51% of the vote to Bridgewater’s 49%.
Lee defeated Becky Edwards and Ally Isom in the Republican primary election.
In the general election, independent Evan McMullin is challenging Lee. The Democratic Party has chosen not to field a candidate. Polling in July showed Lee with 41% support and McMullin with 36%, with the rest undecided or choosing “other”. According to Jason Perry, the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, Utah “has not seen a Senate race this competitive in decades.”
Scorecards and rankings
In 2011, Club for Growth gave Lee a 100% score. He also received a 100% Conservative voting record for 2011 from the American Conservative Union. The Heritage Foundation gave him a 99% score, tied for first with Jim DeMint. He received a Liberal Action score of 38%.
2016 presidential election
In March 2016, Lee endorsed Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary. He was the first senator to do so. At the time, he said, “I expect I’ll be the first of many Republican senators who will endorse Ted Cruz. I’m confident more are on the way, and I welcome others to join.” By June, after Trump had become the presumptive nominee, Lee had still not endorsed him, saying he needed “assurances” that Trump would not act as an “authoritarian” or “autocrat” and expressing frustration that Trump had “accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK”.
2017 Alabama special election
On October 16, 2017, Lee endorsed Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama special election runoff to fill the seat of U.S. Attorney General and former senator Jeff Sessions. Moore had been removed as the Alabama Supreme Court’s chief justice in 2003 for defying a federal order to remove an illegal Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building. He was reelected chief justice in 2012. In May 2016, Moore was once again removed from the bench by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC), permanently via suspension for the rest of his term, making him ineligible for reelection, for ordering state probate judges to ignore a U.S. Supreme Court decision. In a 50-page opinion, the Court of the Judiciary denied Moore’s appeal of the JIC’s decision, and said his removal was necessary “to preserve the integrity, independence, impartiality of Alabama’s judiciary”. Nevertheless, Lee praised Moore for his “reputation of integrity” and said he was essential to getting conservative legislation through the Senate. “That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate,” On November 9, 2017, Moore was accused of molesting a 14-year-old and other girls under age 18 when he was 32.
On November 10, Lee asked the Moore campaign to stop using Lee’s endorsement of Moore in its ads. Lee’s spokesperson said of the sexual misconduct allegations, “If these allegations are true, Judge Moore should resign.” Later that day, Lee rescinded his endorsement of Moore.
2020 presidential election
On October 28, 2020, Lee compared President Trump to a heroic figure in the Book of Mormon, telling rallygoers in Arizona: “To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni.” He went on to contend that Trump “seeks not the praise of the world” and wants only “the well-being and peace of the American people.” His comparison was met with backlash. The overwhelming majority of responses on Lee’s Facebook account characterized his efforts as “shameful” or “blasphemous.” In a follow-up Facebook post, Lee wrote that he had praised Trump for his willingness to “threaten the established political order”, but that the comparison was “perhaps awkward” and that his “impromptu comments may not have been the best forum for drawing a novel analogy from scripture.”
Text messages gathered by the January 6th Commission reveal Lee’s close coordination with Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the aftermath of Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election. In the weeks after the election, Lee pursued a series of strategies to overturn the election results, claiming to have been working “14 hours a day” on this effort. The strategies included attempts to persuade state legislatures in states Biden won to put forward alternative slates of electors and promoting the efforts of attorneys Sidney Powell and John Eastman. Ultimately, Lee became concerned by what he considered Powell’s missteps, the lack of evidence given by her and others of election fraud, state legislatures’ failure to convene alternate slates of electors, and what Lee considered the unconstitutional efforts of Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to challenge the election certification in Congress on January 6.
After Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Trump refused to concede, and a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, Lee said Trump should be given a “mulligan” for his inflammatory January 6 speech immediately before the storming of the Capitol. Lee later defended his remarks, saying, “my reference to taking a ‘mulligan’ was not referring to Trump, but to Democratic politicians whose inflammatory comments had just been played for me on the air [on Fox News]. I used the term…to avoid needlessly inflaming partisan passions.” On May 28, 2021, Lee voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the riot. By April 2022, the commission had discovered and released over 100 emails between Lee, Congressman Chip Roy, and Meadows discussing their plans to overturn the election results.
- Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
- Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights (Chair)
- Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications Technology, Innovation, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security
- Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
Special Committee on Aging (2021–present)
Previous committee assignments
Lee is a conservative Republican. The New York Times used the NOMINATE system to rank Senate members by ideology; Lee ranked as the Senate’s most conservative member. GovTrack‘s 2017 analysis placed Lee on the right end of the spectrum, to the right of most Republicans, but to the left of a handful of Republican senators. FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, found that Lee voted with Trump’s positions on legislation 81.3% of the time as of July 2018.
9/11 Responders Compensation Fund
On July 17, 2019, Jon Stewart and disabled construction worker John Feal criticized Lee and Rand Paul on Fox News for blocking a bill that provided Victims Compensation Fund support for disabled 9/11 responders. The fund was near exhaustion. On the Senate floor, Paul objected to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s request for the bill to be approved by unanimous consent; per Senate rules, such a request is rejected if any senator objects. Lee had placed such a hold on the measure, despite its 73 Senate co-sponsors.
Stewart and Feal, as well as leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Firefighters, tried to get both senators to withdraw their objections. “The people from the state of Kentucky and the people from the state of Utah deserve better”, Feal said. Stewart said, “We have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. … There [are] some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community, the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors, all of a sudden … we gotta go through this.” On July 23, 2019, Lee was one of two senators to vote against the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Criminal justice reform
In 2013, Lee, Dick Durbin, and Patrick Leahy proposed a bill aiming “to focus limited federal resources on the most serious offenders”. The bill would reduce some minimum sentences for drug-related offenses by half.
In November 2018, Lee criticized Senator Tom Cotton for his stance on the proposed First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill Lee supported. Cotton had said that the legislation “gives early release to ‘low level, nonviolent’ criminals like those convicted of assaulting police, even with deadly weapons”. Lee responded that “the First Step Act does not ‘give early release’ to anyone. Anyone claiming it does does not understand how the bill works.” The bipartisan bill, drafted by Chuck Grassley, Lee, and Durbin, passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly, 360-59. The bill intends to improve rehabilitation programs for former prisoners, and to give judges more “wiggle room” when sentencing nonviolent crime offenders. The bill eventually passed the Senate and became law.
Democracy and election reform
In October 2020, Lee sent a series of tweets declaring that the United States is “not a democracy” and that “democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.” A Maryland economics professor argued Lee fundamentally misunderstood the terms “democracy” and “republic“.
In March 2021, Lee said on Fox News that the For the People Act was “rotten to the core” and was “as if written in Hell by the devil himself”. The act attempts to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders. It has been criticized by conservatives, including Lee, who believe its provisions improperly take power over elections away from state governments and give it to the federal government.
We do find common ground on questions of policy, working out deals and contingencies we want to have. We get along quite well.
In 2017, Lee was one of 22 Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump urging him to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. According to OpenSecrets, Lee has received campaign contributions from oil and gas interests amounting to $231,520 and from coal interests in the amount of $21,895, for a total of $253,415 since 2012. At a May 2016 event, Lee rejected the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change, calling it “little more than a cheap public-relations ploy” by the Democratic Party. Lee opposes a carbon tax to deal with climate change.
In 2018, Lee defended Jim Bridenstine‘s nomination to head NASA. Bridenstine’s nomination was contentious, given that he rejected the scientific consensus on climate change and had no background in science. In defending Bridenstine, Lee falsely claimed that NASA disputed that there was a scientific consensus on climate change. Since his confirmation, Bridenstine has said that he agrees with the scientific consensus on human contributions to climate change.
On March 26, 2019, the Senate opened debate on the Green New Deal. When Lee took the floor, he called the plan absurd, comparing it to an image of Ronald Reagan riding a velociraptor, and argued that having more babies was the real solution. He also claimed that “the authors of the Green New Deal proposal are trying to suggest people should not have babies and I think that’s atrocious.” Deseret News noted, “the text of the [Green New Deal] resolution does not address population growth or suggest limiting the number of children people can have”.
As part of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2018, Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy co-sponsored a resolution “that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen’s civil war“. Interviewed by The Hill, he said: “regardless of what may have happened with Mr. Khashoggi, we are fighting a war in Yemen that we haven’t declared, that has never been declared or authorized by Congress. That’s not constitutional.” The Senate voted 60–39 to “formally begin debate on the resolution”, which would require the President to “withdraw troops in or ‘affecting’ Yemen within 30 days unless they are fighting al Qaeda”.
In April 2018, Lee was one of eight Republican senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and acting Secretary of State John Sullivan expressing “deep concern” over a United Nations report exposing “North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China” and asserting that the findings “demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people” while calling it “imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement.” He criticized Trump for ordering the 2018 missile strikes against Syria in response to the Douma chemical attack, stating that he lacked the constitutional authority to do so without Congress’s permission because the U.S. was not in imminent danger. Lee supported Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria in December 2018, saying that American forces should not have been in the country anyway without Congressional authorization. He said that the Obama administration had not made clear American objectives in Syria surrounding Assad’s future, and that he believed Trump’s claim that the Islamic State had been defeated.
Lee has long been in favor of ending American involvement in Afghanistan. He signed a letter in 2011 urging Obama to withdraw troops from the country. In May 2017, he called into question a proposal from military leaders to send additional troops there, calling to mind previous times when more soldiers were sent to the country but which, according to Lee, failed to make a significant difference. Lee maintained that American involvement in the war has wasted thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. In April 2021, President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of that year. At a virtual meeting later that month, Lee stated his support of Biden’s plan.
In April 2019, after the House passed the resolution withdrawing American support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Lee was one of nine lawmakers to sign a letter to Trump requesting a meeting with him and urging him to sign “Senate Joint Resolution 7, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973 to end unauthorized US military participation in the Saudi-led coalition’s armed conflict against Yemen’s Houthi forces, initiated in 2015 by the Obama administration.” The group of Senators included Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and others. Trump was expected to veto the measure.
In June 2019, Lee was one of seven Republicans who voted to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
Lee was part of the group of 13 senators drafting the Senate version of the AHCA behind closed doors. He eventually came out against the bill, along with Senator Jerry Moran, bringing the “no” vote total among Republicans to four. This effectively stopped any chance of the bill’s passage.
In February 2019, Lee was one of 16 senators to vote against[why?] legislation preventing a partial government shutdown and containing $1.375 billion in funding for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border that included 55 miles of fencing. In that same month, he and Senator Kamala Harris removed the per-country cap on employment-based green cards and raised the cap on family-based green cards from 7% to 15%.
In March 2019, Lee was one of 12 Republican senators to vote to block Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have granted him access to $3.6 billion in military construction funding to build border barriers.
In 2018, Lee condemned the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), for recommending that Costa Rica legalize same-sex marriage. The court’s decision was spurred by a petition by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, who was working on ways to improve LGBT rights in Costa Rica. Lee suggested that the U.S., a primary funder of the OAS, should use its money more wisely and do more to safeguard religious liberties worldwide.
In February 2011, Lee was one of two Republicans to vote against extending the three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that deal with roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” terrorism suspects, and the government’s ability to seize “any tangible items” in the course of surveillance. He voted in the same manner in May 2011.
In 2017, Lee voted for S.J.Res.34, a joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” from taking effect.
In April 2011, Lee and Senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul proposed a plan to reform the U.S. Social Security retirement payment system. Workers born after 1969 would have to wait until their 70th birthday to receive full Social Security benefits, rather than age 67 under current law. Furthermore, higher-income earners would receive smaller monthly checks under the plan. 
In December 2020, Lee was the sole vote in the Senate against the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019, which eliminated the five-month waiting period for those with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to receive Social Security benefits.
In September 2018, Lee was among six senators, including Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, David Perdue, Ben Sasse, and Bernie Sanders, to vote against a $854 billion spending bill that would avert another government shutdown. The bill included funding for the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Education.
In March 2019, Lee was one of 12 senators to cosponsor a resolution that would impose a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court to nine justices. The resolution was introduced after multiple Democratic presidential candidates expressed openness to the idea of increasing the seats on the Supreme Court.
In September 2020, less than two months before that year’s presidential election, Lee supported an immediate Senate vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s death. In March 2016, eight months before the 2016 election, Lee took the opposite position, declining to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year, citing “the contentious presidential election already well underway”.
In January 2018, Lee was one of 36 Republican senators to sign a letter to Trump requesting that he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st century.
In November 2018, Lee was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter to Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (the replacement to NAFTA) be submitted to Congress by the end of that month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year as they were concerned “passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult” if it had to be approved by the incoming 116th United States Congress.
Lee married Sharon Burr in 1993. They live in Alpine, Utah, and have three children. Lee is a second cousin to former Democratic U.S. Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as former Republican senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon.
Lee has served on the BYU alumni board, the BYU Law School alumni board, and as a longtime member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He earned the Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America in 1989 and was selected to receive the National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout Award (NOESA) in 2011.
|State Republican I Convention results, 2010|
|Candidate||First ballot||Pct.||Second ballot||Pct.||Third ballot||Pct.|
|Independent American||Stoney Fonua||27,340||2.45%||N/A|
Since his election to the Senate in 2010, Lee has published four books:
- The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government (July 2011, Regnery Publishing)
- Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare: A Conservative Critique of The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling (June 2013, Threshold Editions e-book)
- Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document (April 2015, Sentinel)
- Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government (May 2017, Sentinel)
- Lee-Hamblin family
- List of law clerks of the Supreme Court of the United States (Seat 8)
- List of politicians affiliated with the Tea Party movement
- Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act
- comparable to student body president in most colleges
- “Annual Reports – United States Joint Economic Committee”. www.jec.senate.gov. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
- Rucker, Philip (February 5, 2011). “Sen. Mike Lee: A political insider refashions himself as tea party revolutionary”. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
- Litvan, Laura (February 28, 2012). “Obama’s Nominee Battle a One-Man Fight By Freshman Senator Lee”. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Callister, Laura Andersen (February 20, 1993). “Student Body Election Gives BYU Another President Lee”. Deseret News. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
- “About Mike”. lee.senate.gov. Office of Senator Mike Lee. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- “New Members 2010 – Utah”. The Hill. October 27, 2010.
- Fahys, Judy (January 14, 2010). “Utah argues case to ban foreign nuke waste”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- Vergakis, Brock (November 9, 2010). “Court: Compact can keep foreign nuke waste out”. KSL. Retrieved December 17, 2014.
- “Flat tax, term limits on agenda for Bennett challenger, Herald Extra”.
- Catanese, David (May 8, 2010). “Sen. Bennett loses GOP nomination”. Politico. Capitol News Company. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
- Gehrke, Robert (June 3, 2010). “Lee clinches GOP Senate nomination – Salt Lake Tribune”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
- “Utah Election results”. Electionresults.utah.gov. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Raju, Manu (December 22, 2014). “Tea partier braces for primary challenge from the establishment”. Politico. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- GOP Sen. Mike Lee is in a tight contest with independent Evan McMullin in the Utah Senate race: poll
- How close is the Senate race between Mike Lee and Evan McMullin in Utah? Here’s the latest poll. Deseret News, July 20, 2022
- “Club for Growth Scorecard”. clubforgrowth.org. Club for Growth. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- “2011 U.S. Senate Votes”. conservative.org. American Conservative Union. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- “Scorecard”. heritageaction.com. Heritage Action for America. March 26, 2019. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012.
- “Senator Mike Lee of Utah: Profile, Legislative Scorecard, Contact Information, News and Campaign Contribution Data for the 112th Congress”. That’s My Congress!. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- “Cruz lands first Senate endorsement: Mike Lee”. Politico.
- At several points during the 2016 primary, Trump publicly implied that Ted Cruz’s father had consorted with Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Wright, David (June 30, 2016). “Lee on lack of Trump endorsement: ‘He accused my best friend’s father of conspiring to kill JFK’ | CNN Politics”. CNN.
- Shelbourne, Mallory (October 16, 2017). “Mike Lee endorses Roy Moore for Senate”. The Hill. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
- Chappell, Bill (September 30, 2016). “Roy Moore Is Suspended For Rest Of Term As Alabama’s Chief Justice Over Same-Sex Marriage Stance”. NPR. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- Lyman, Brian (April 26, 2017). “Roy Moore will seek U.S. Senate seat”. Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- Biskupic, Joan (November 28, 2017). “Roy Moore’s Alabama court ouster rooted in credibility questions”. CNN. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- McCrummen, Stephanie; Crites, Alice; Reinhard, Beth (November 9, 2017). “Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32”. The Washington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- Sommer, Will (2017-11-10). “GOP senator asks to be taken off Moore fundraising appeals”. The Hill. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
- Burr, Thomas. “Hatch, Lee call on Alabama’s Roy Moore to drop his Senate bid if underage sexual allegations are true”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
- Watson, Kathryn (November 9, 2017). “Senators begin rescinding support of Alabama candidate Roy Moore”. CBS News. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Riess, Jana. “Sen. Mike Lee is just one example. Latter-day Saint men still like Donald Trump”. Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
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- Senator Mike Lee official government website
- Mike Lee for Senate official campaign website
- Mike Lee at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
Protecting the American people from foreign threats is a fundamental function of the federal government. In crafting the U.S. Constitution, our Founders understood the immense power and control vested in the ability to raise and command an Army and Navy as well as to declare war. While the President serves as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Congress is the only branch with the power to declare war and raise a military through the power of the purse. This authority was given to Congress because it is the branch held most accountable by the people.
Congress and the President also share the responsibility of engaging with foreign nations. Congress is explicitly charged with the power to regulate foreign commerce, and the Senate’s power to ratify treaties and offer advice and consent on ambassador nominations serves as a check on the President’s diplomatic power.
Over the years, the checks and balances and appropriate division of this power has weakened, resulting in a concentration of both defense and foreign relations powers in the executive branch. Therefore, one of Senator Lee’s missions is to reassert and reinvigorate the constitutional role of Congress in shaping U.S. military and foreign policy. He continues to lead major legislation on war powers, military spending, and restraining international institutions. He believes very strongly that actions that would put American blood and treasure on the line must be debated and discussed where the risks and benefits can be carefully weighed and the American people can influence such decisions through their elected leaders. The U.S. Congress is the only body that meets both parameters.
Another major component of protecting our national security and sovereignty is securing our borders. We must know who is entering and exiting our country to protect Americans domestically and ensure that we enforce our immigration laws so as not to incentivize those who want to enter the United States to do so illegally.
While the Framers understood the importance of national security, they also understood that protecting civil liberties by limiting the government’s power to search and spy on its citizens was an essential protection against tyranny. As James Madison said when framing a government where men govern men “the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.” Senator Lee believes the federal government must follow warrant requirements enshrined in the Fourth Amendment to protect Americans against unauthorized government surveillance and preserve the civil liberties granted by our Constitution.
When Utah first entered the Union, a ratified agreement called the Utah Enabling Act stipulated that “public lands lying within said State… shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said State into the Union.” Unfortunately, the federal government has not held up its end of the bargain and has retained vast amounts of Utah acreage limiting Utahns’ ability to maintain, conserve, recreate, and responsibly produce on the lands within their own state.
Senator Lee believes much of this land should be transferred to the state as promised so that Utah’s natural resources can be better managed to conserve the land, provide for the state’s constituents, and serve its multi-use purposes. Utah has a great track record of responsibly managing public lands and caring for its environment, while ensuring economic prosperity for its communities, families, and industries dependent on access to the land, like agriculture, energy, and outdoor recreation.
As Utah’s population grows, access to the land will become even more urgent and necessary. Some will need to accommodate affordable housing, roads to ease congestion, schools, etc; other acreage that contains critical minerals and energy sources will need to be responsibly and safely tapped; and finally, others will need to be preserved for fishing, hunting, climbing, and other outdoor sports that bring families together and are simply a way of life in the west.
Additionally, Senator Lee believes the federal government should not pick winners and losers in the energy sector or agriculture sector and that the free market and the demands of the public will result in the most efficient use of funds, reliable supply of energy to fuel the country and food to feed our population, and innovative solutions to keep our environment clean and food supply safe. But again, safe, responsible, and reliable access to the land is necessary to accomplish this.
While the Constitution charges Congress with regulating interstate commerce, Senator Lee believes that authority should be used to ensure goods and services can be properly sold and traded amongst the 50 states and the rest of the world. He does not think it gives the federal government blanket authority to micromanage the country’s economy.
Congress should allow American businesses and families to thrive without the burdensome hand of government getting in the way. Workers succeed when businesses have access to the capital they need, and capital becomes more readily available when government is not overregulating or spending beyond its means.
Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have proven they have an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to better not only their own lives but the lives of their neighbors, local communities, and the world at large. Senator Lee believes Americans, not government, have built businesses, employed workers, supported families, and provided the ideas to improve the lives of each generation.
The federal government can appropriately help support the continuation of these successes by removing unnecessary regulations, increasing access to foreign markets through free and fair trade agreements, simplifying our tax code and making it more competitive, protecting the integrity of the dollar, and protecting American workers by ensuring our legal immigration system supplements our workforce only where there is a gap.
Jobs also depend on free markets, and free markets require vigilance to protect them from anticompetitive monopolies. Senator Lee, through his leadership on the Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, works to ensure that our antitrust enforcers vigorously enforce U.S. law to protect consumers and free markets.
The family is the most basic and essential building block of American society, and strong families are the best predictor of financial, educational, and emotional success in life. Accordingly, Senator Lee consistently pursues policies that strengthen family ties and works to undo government interventions that penalize or weaken the family.
Since every human life holds innate and profound dignity and worth from conception, it is essential that the federal government respect each human life. Every individual deserves respect and protection to freely exercise and live out their religious and moral beliefs without fear of oppression or persecution as guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution.
The importance of the family and the social capital that comes from active, local communities motivates much of Senator Lee’s work – everything from tax policy to welfare policy to criminal justice reform. He believes America must renew civil society and the federal government should not crowd-out civil society’s role or Americans’ participation in associational life and the institutions that secure it.
For instance, Senator Lee believes the tax code should not penalize marriage, our entitlement system should not penalize parents, and our criminal code should provide flexibility to judges in sentencing non-violent offenders. Ensuring that the federal government places married couples and parents on a level-playing field as other Americans and provides those that have been convicted of non-violent crimes the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and return to their families and communities are important reforms that Senator Lee has made a focus of his work.
Access to affordable, high-quality healthcare is a critical component of a productive and vibrant society. Unfortunately, due to government intrusion, many Americans cannot afford the care and treatment they need.
Each of our 50 states has different populations with different health-care needs, so Senator Lee believes there is no reason all Americans should be forced to purchase the same “essential health benefits” package while shopping for health insurance. Good health-care policy is flexible and customizable, since what is essential to one family or individual may not be essential to another.
While Senator Lee opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, he believes the problems of federal intervention in the health-care sector started decades earlier. Exempting employer-provided health insurance from taxation was one of the first issues that inappropriately incentivized the employer-sponsored model over the individual consumer model. For many Americans, this has resulted in fewer insurance choices and has tied them to their jobs.
While immediately ending the tax deduction for healthcare provided through an employer would be unsettling for many Americans, Senator Lee believes its reform must be a topic for debate. But possibly the most important health-care reform needed is a liberalization of health savings accounts. Freeing these accounts from federal government restrictions could allow Americans to save more for their health-care needs, allow them to transfer from jobs without losing their insurance, and equip them to be more active and engaged consumers. With a more informed consumer base, its influence over the market could truly turn things around, improving quality, cost, and accessibility.
Additionally, Senator Lee believes Congress must reform the Food and Drug Administration to make medical devices and drugs (and their generics) available sooner and at a lower cost. Medicaid must also be addressed to ensure it is targeted for the truly vulnerable who are unable to provide for themselves, such as children, pregnant women, and the disabled; and reforms must be made to the Department of Health and Human Services so that all life, including the lives of the unborn and the elderly, is always protected.
Human capital – the knowledge, skills, and abilities of every person – is one of our nation’s greatest resources. Because an education is essential for many to pursue the American dream, Senator Lee believes reforms are needed to empower students and their families with options that best meet their unique needs.
Children’s first teachers are their parents, and parents must carry the primary responsibility to oversee and direct their children’s education. Therefore, it’s important that families have choices – whether that be home schooling, public school, charter school, private school, etc. – and the federal government should not incentivize one over another.
While the four-year formalized college education is held as the gold standard by many, it really shouldn’t be. For some it is absolutely the right route, but for others, higher education may not be necessary or they may be better served and prepared for work through an apprenticeship program or short-term, highly focused instruction. Again, Senator Lee believes choice and options are important. At the end of the day, higher education should prepare the upcoming generation for success in today’s workforce. For this to be accomplished and the cost of post-secondary education to decrease, greater transparency, accountability, and competition are needed.
American entrepreneurs and creators have made the United States the global leader in science and technology. Their innovation and advances in technology have transformed the quality of life of people throughout the world, including millions of Americans.
As technology improves and new and growing markets emerge, there will always be a temptation in Washington to expand the federal government’s regulatory role over the private sector and attempt to centrally control our innovation. However, Senator Lee believes a responsible approach to technology policy is one where the federal government restrains itself to its limited constitutional authorities and even then only acts in a manner that is narrowly tailored to address the specific challenge. This authority must be exercised carefully because government intervention tends to hinder, rather than empower, American innovators and can insulate the largest, most powerful companies from their competitors. As tech companies acquire more power and exercise more control over our access to information, our antitrust enforcers must play a more active role to promote and protect competition.
As the internet has grown and transformed how Americans share information, purchase and transport goods, and consume news, the federal government has needed and will continue to need to revisit debates over government regulation of speech, corporate conduct, competition, and transportation. If we want reforms to successfully combat discriminatory action, ensure competition, and crack down on obscene content to protect our children, all while preserving a fair marketplace and continued innovation, Senator Lee believes Congress must engage in robust debate, exercise its limited, proper role, and consider how its actions may lead to other consequences.
The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right “to keep and bear arms”. The Supreme Court correctly interpreted this guarantee as an individual right as opposed to a collective right enjoyed only by colonial militias. Many gun control efforts threaten the rights of law-abiding Americans while criminals intent on hurting themselves or others continue to ignore the law. These efforts also harm the ability of Americans to protect themselves and their families, disproportionately hurting minorities and those living in high-crime areas. Senator Lee has led the fight against efforts to further restrict the ability of law-abiding Americans to exercise this fundamental right and he supports efforts to roll back existing gun control laws.