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Mike Pence updates on the status of Obamacare

Friday, March 12, 2010
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HH: Joined now from Washington, D.C. by Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana’s 6th District. Mike is such a great Congressman that he almost gets to represent Ohio. He is bordered up right against next to Ohio. Congressman Pence, good to have you back. Thank you for joining us.

MP: (laughing) Great to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Can we stop Obamacare in the House?

MP: Yes.

HH: And how do we do it?

MP: Well, I think we’re in the process of doing it, and I think even as we speak, millions of people across this country are letting their voices be heard – faxes, telephone calls, e-mails, letters to the editor, stopping by the office for their member of Congress. And clearly, they don’t have the votes right now. There’s a lot of blow and bluster on Capitol Hill, but I guarantee you if they had the votes, we’d be voting tomorrow. And that’s simply not the case. I do believe that we can defeat this bill. I do believe we will defeat this bill on the floor of the House of Representatives, because the American people don’t want a government takeover of health care. They don’t want hundreds of billions of dollars of higher taxes and mandates and bureaucracy. They don’t want the government between themselves and their doctor. And they don’t want, for the first time since Roe V. Wade, the House of Representatives to vote on a bill that provides public support for elective abortions.

HH: Now Congressman, we have got a workaround engineered by my software gremlin makers that they can now send one e-mail that gets to 58 blue dog Democrats. Does e-mail from outside of your district matter? Should they be doing that?

MP You know what? It does. It does matter to a degree. But nothing matters as much as an e-mail, a telephone call, or a stop-by or a communication from a constituent of your state, or more importantly, your district. You know, my reading of the Constitution is the reason why you don’t have to be a resident of the district that you’re elected to, you just have to be a resident of the state, is that whether it be my beloved Indiana or elsewhere, I think the delegation of the House of Representatives from a particular state actually represents the whole state collectively.

HH: Yup, yup.

MP: And so that’s why I read all my mail from Hoosiers. I get a lot of e-mails, you might imagine, and letters from around the country because of my leadership role in the Congress. But I read all my mail and all my e-mail from Hoosiers. And I think that members of Congress generally will pay most attention to the people they serve, but almost as much attention to the people that are from their state.

HH: Now yesterday, we had a story, Mike Pence, that Louise Slaughter was going to try and run a half-baked rule through the Rules Committee, which is, you know, they run that thing like a train. They don’t listen to dissent or anything like that. Our colleague, our friend, Dave Dreier, tells us about that. But has that been abandoned in the aftermath of the Senate parliamentarian ruling today that you can’t, you have to do this in sequence?

MP: Has what been abandoned?

HH: The Louise Slaughter attempt to merge the bills into one bill, one vote?

MP: Well, no, because remember, the parliamentarian is…and first, let me say, Hugh, I don’t know if it’s been abandoned. I, you know, we’re in the minority, which means we’re the kids standing on the sidewalk looking through the department store window. So I can only tell you what I guess. But I would imagine it hasn’t abandoned, they haven’t abandoned the approach, because the parliamentarian in the Senate is not the final word. The president pro-tem of the Senate, who is the vice president of the United States of America, has the final say about the interpretation of the rules of the Senate. And so I would venture to guess that that’s still very much a live grenade, legislatively. The idea of them deeming the Senate bill in some sort of a procedural vote, and then trying to move a reconciliation bill, we did get word that they’re, they…the Speaker has alerted the Budget Committee to begin drafting this reconciliation bill, which supposedly is going to have elements in it that “fix” deficiencies or problems in the Senate bill. But can I break some big news to many of your millions of listeners, Hugh?

HH: Absolutely.

MP: You can’t fix the Senate bill.

HH: (laughing) You can’t.

MP: No, I’m serious. You can’t physically do it. Whether it’s the abortion issue…there’s only 45 pro-life votes in the Senate today, okay? So if you put language in the likes of which Bart Stupak got in the House version of the bill, the Hyde amendment language, that couldn’t pass the Senate, okay? Also, even if you put that language in, it would be subject to what’s called a Byrd rule objection, because it would have a budget impact that goes beyond the budget window, and it would take 60 votes to pass it, and you’re not going to get…the last time I checked, there’s 41 Republicans in the Senate. You’re not going to get 60 votes. So any Democrat in the House, and any constituent of a Democrat in the House who is being told that hey, well I’m going to vote for the Senate bill, but we’ve got this other bill that’s going to pass the Senate that’s going to fix the abortion problem, is going to fix the Cornhusker kickback, is going to fix these other deficiencies, what I’m telling you is that other bill can’t pass the Senate, won’t pass the Senate, won’t fix the Senate bill. And so what’s really going on here is an effort to get the House of Representatives to pass the Senate bill and send it to the president. And any effort to “fix” it will, on procedural grounds and on substantive grounds, not be successful.

HH: Now Congressman Mike Pence, do your pro-life Democratic colleagues, and there are a handful of them…

MP: Yeah.

HH: Will they fall for this?

MP: There’s more than a handful, more than a handful.

HH: Okay, will they accept this, because you can’t really call yourself pro-life if you allow yourself to be flimflammed on public funding of abortion?

MP: Well, look, I don’t agree with Congressman Bart Stupak on a lot. He’s liberal, I’m a conservative. But let me tell you, Bart Stupak and about a dozen pro-life Democrats in the House hung tough on House passage, insisted that the historic prohibition on providing public support for elective abortions was in the House version of the bill. And God bless him for it. And at this hour, they’re continuing to hang tough under what I can tell you from personal experience, back in 2003 when I opposed the president of my own party, I opposed the speaker of my own party, on a major piece of legislation, it was the prescription drug bill, I can tell you. It’s an enormous amount of pressure. And they are holding firm. But they need, number one, they need prayer support from people around this country who cherish the sanctity of life. And I believe they need encouragement to just stick by their guns, and to not accept the fraud that the Senate bill, as I heard one Democrat say on TV today, preserves the status quo. The Senate bill does not preserve the status quo. The Senate bill is the most pro-abortion piece of legislation to ever be considered in the Congress of the United States. It must be rejected. It cannot be fixed. And we’re going to have to rely on these pro-life Democrats to stand firm for life.

HH: Mike Pence, we’ll help you do that. Thank you for joining us, Congressman, and congratulations on continued good effort in the gap there.

End of interview.

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