U.S. Congressman Mike Pence appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning to discuss government funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Below is a transcript:
On the Prospects of a Shutdown
"I think that's up to Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and the liberals in the Senate. It's been more than 40 days since Republicans passed a resolution to fund the government with responsible budget cuts through the end of this year. We passed it again last week. And, you know, 40 days, 40 nights and some change, liberals in the Senate are just continuing to posture, continuing to pose. So, you know if there's a government shutdown this week it will be on their hands."
On Who Will Get Blamed for a Shutdown
"Well, look, we went through, I think, more than 90 hours of debate, hundreds of amendments, many of which passed on a bipartisan basis. We kept our word to the American people and found $61 billion in savings this year. That's what we told the American people that we would do. We sent that to the Senate not once, but twice. And so far, all we've seen from Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are words like extremism, reckless, irresponsible, and I think the American people see through this. They see that $61 billion is scarcely a down-payment on fiscal discipline and reform. We have big challenges ahead in the budget, the debt ceiling battle, the appropriations process. Let's just get this done. Let's keep our word to the American people and let's have it out."
On Compromising to Keep the Government Open
"I think there's a lot of talk understandably around the table at 'Morning Joe' about whether Republicans win or Democrats win and how it plays politically. I think the American people need to win one. I've been out here in Washington for ten years, and I have seen this parlor game in Washington, D.C. It's always, 'Don't cut him, don't cut me, cut the program behind the tree.' This is not 1995. The American people know we have to take a decisive step to change the fiscal direction of our national government. Republicans said we'd find $100 billion in savings off the president's budget. In this year, that will take $61 billion in cuts. I think the American people need to win that fight. And House Republicans need to dig in and demand that $61 billion number, and I think we need to dig in now.
On Holding up the Budget for Planned Parenthood Amendment
"Of course I am. I think the American people have begun to learn that the largest abortion provider in the country is also the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X. They want to see that come to an end. I think there's a broad consensus in this country, regardless of where you stand on the subject of abortion; there's a broad consensus for decades now opposing public funding of abortion and abortion providers. I heard Chris Smith yesterday, a longtime champion of the right to life in the House, say every single major advance that has been achieved since Roe v. Wade in the Congress was always a deal-breaker; it was always a non-starter. We're going to dig-in, we're going to fight for the principle that taxpayers should not have to subsidize the largest abortion provider in the country, namely Planned Parenthood of America."
"For me, there is no more important issue than the sanctity of life and respecting the tens of millions of Americans who cherish the sanctity of life and respecting their right not to see their taxpayer dollars used to provide or promote abortion at home or abroad is a central issue. I'll tell you straight up, we've got to keep our word to the American people. The American people sent a deafening message to Capitol Hill, it was most clearly expressed in the House of Representatives with a historic and decisive changeover of leadership. H.R. 1 with $61 billion in cuts, defunding Planned Parenthood, defunding ObamaCare represents the will of the American people and you bet we're going to fight for that."