Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) voted for the two-week continuing resolution this week even though his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood was dropped from the bill in a compromise with Senate Democrats. But now he’s put his foot down: It’s time to end taxpayer funding for abortions and defund Obamacare as well.
“The time to put our fiscal house in order is now,” Pence said this morning on the House floor. “No more delays. No more kicking the cans. Let’s have the debate. Let’s hash it out. Let’s defund Obamacare. Let’s defund Planned Parenthood.”
Only six House Republicans voted against the two-week spending plan, which President Obama signed into law yesterday. Two of them were Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), who cast their votes against the measure because it did not defund Obamacare or Planned Parenthood.
But if Pence joins the fight in the next round, he could bring a substantial following with him. As former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee and member of Republican leadership last year, he has the influence to persuade other members of Congress.
GOP leaders, meanwhile, maintain there is no need for another short-term option. They’ve been able to hold their party together by directing the blame at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid’s failure to produce a spending bill last year — or come to the table with one now — resulted in the two-week compromise.
That’s a message Pence made on the House floor today:
While House Republicans have done the people’s business at this moment the Senate has virtually done nothing except find a way to fund the government for another two weeks, and the White House just appointed a few negotiators yesterday, just two short days before funding would have run out to begin with.
As conservatives contemplate their next move, Bachmann and King said they are rallying support for their position. They fear Republicans made a strategic blunder by stripping the bill of the Obamacare and Planned Parenthood language, and now must fight harder in negotiations.
“You have to pick the ground on which you’ll fight, and you want to fight when your army is at maximum strength,” King said. “We’re not as strong as we were three weeks ago, and now we’ve given up some ground. That’s a hill we have to retake now.”