Rep. Mike Pence on Republican Agenda: “We Lost Our Way” But Now “We’re Listening”

By Gregory

Sep 23, 2010 3:20pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: I caught up with Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., today after he and fellow republicans rolled out their "Pledge to America.”   He told me republicans have been listening to the American people and they “get it.”  Pence portrayed the pledge as a clean break from the democratic agenda and also from mistakes republicans made the last time they held the majority in Congress.  “Republicans didn’t just lose our majority in 2006, we lost our way. We walked away from the principles of fiscal responsibility and reform that minted our national governing majority and the American people walked away from us,” he said. Pence acknowledged that the pledge is a little light on specifics when it comes to exactly what government spending republicans would cut. He called “A Pledge to America,” “a good start.” “We have a long way to go to restore our fiscal solvency to our national government. We have to put everything on the table, from defense to domestic spending to even entitlements, and Republicans if given the opportunity to lead the Congress again and will be prepared to take on those challenges,” he said. You can watch my entire interview with Congressman Pence and read the full transcript below.  For more analysis, be sure to check out our “Top Line” episode from today. Jonathan Karl:  What’s the significance of this document, of this Pledge to America?
Rep. Mike Pence:  I think, hopefully it demonstrates that over the last year, Republicans get it, we’ve been listening to the American people, trying to determine what are the most important things to do right now. Get this economy moving again, get spending under control, reform government, protect the nation, respect our values and the Pledge to America is intended to be a start back in the direction the American people want to see this national government go.
Jonathan Karl:  In 94' with the "Contract With America", candidates when out and actually signed it, but you’re not doing that this time are you, or are you?
Rep. Mike Pence: We’re not. The Pledge to America is a governing agenda for this Congress.  We’re actually calling on Speaker Pelosi, no less extent Harry Reid, bring these bills to the floor right now. Let’s make sure there’s no more tax increases.
Jonathan Karl:  But you know that’s not going to happen, I mean we’re in the middle of a campaign season, you guys have maybe a matter of days left before you adjourn.
Rep. Mike Pence: Well, you know, I don’t know what’s possible. All I know is the American people are tired of runaway federal spending and bailouts.  They’re tired of the failed economic policies of this administration and they want to see this Congress do something different and what Republicans are unveiling today in the Pledge to America is a fresh start. It’s a beginning back in the direction of where we believe the American people want to see this country go.
Jonathan Karl: But do you expect candidates out in all these districts where you’re trying to knock off Democrats, do you expect the Republican candidates to embrace this pledge, they’re not actually going to sign it this time, but are they going to be campaigning on this?  What do you see?
Rep. Mike Pence: Well look, we’re going to call on all Americans to sign the pledge, to join us in this cause. But it’s very important to know, this is an effort of House Republicans in this Congress, and we welcome all Americans across this country to join us in this pledge, to embrace the ideals that we’ve articulated here grounded in the timeless values of the American founding, and come together around demanding better of our government today.
Jonathan Karl: Is this going to help you win control of the House?
Rep. Mike Pence: Well, look, we’ll leave that to the American people. We just thought it was important that before this Congress was to adjourn that we would raise the curtain on what our governing agenda would be in this Congress. And the Pledge to America with its detailed proposals on limiting spending, creating jobs, reforming government, providing for national security is intended to be an agenda for this congress.
Jonathan Karl: The Democratic attacks to this is that you guys are just offering a return to the failed policies of the Bush era, is that correct?
Rep. Mike Pence: Look, I don’t believe the choice for the American people is between the failed economic policies of the present and the failed economic policies of the past.  What Republicans are offering today is not the tax cut and spend policies of Republicans in the recent past, but it’s embracing the notion that we need to cut spending and cut taxes.  That’s new. That’s fiscal discipline and growth and I think the American people know it.
Jonathan Karl: So is it a recognition that Republicans went in the wrong direction last time you had control of the House?
Rep. Mike Pence: I said back in 2006, Republicans didn’t just lose our majority in 2006 we lost our way. We walked away from the principles of fiscal responsibility and reform that minted our national governing majority and the American people walked away from us. The Pledge to America is intended to articulate a new governing vision for this Congress that shows the American people that we’re listening and that we’re returning in this Congress to those principles of fiscal responsibility, of strong defense, and pro-growth policies and reform.
Jonathan Karl: How are you going to do this though, I mean, looking through there are specific, you’re specific on the tax cuts, which is going to leave a huge hole in the budget, but what about, how do you end up with a balanced budget? The cuts are not very specific, I mean you’re doing the stimulus spending, but there aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.
Rep. Mike Pence: I think people that are evaluating the Pledge to America should understand that it’s designed to be a good start.  We have a long way to go to restore our fiscal solvency to our national government. We have to put everything on the table, from defense to domestic spending to even entitlements, and Republicans if given the opportunity to lead the Congress again and will be prepared to take on those challenges.  But today the Pledge to America is focused on what can we do right now in this Congress today to take real and meaningful steps to get the economy moving again, to get spending under control, to reform government, and to protect the country.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus