Friday, May 21, 2010

Pence predicts EU bailout will cost U.S. an additional $50 billion

LTC Robert "Buzz" Patterson
Chris Dickson

By Jay Heflin - THE HILL

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) predicts bailout efforts taking place in Europe could eventually cost U.S. taxpayers an additional $50 billion.

"If the European Union-wide bailout plan goes forward, American taxpayers could be on the hook for an additional $50 billion," he said Wednesday. "At a time of record unemployment in the United States of America, at a time of record deficits and debt, the American people should not be put on the hook to be bailing out the fiscal recklessness in Europe."

The United States is already on tap to pay roughly $7 billion of the $39 billion the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pledged to help bail out Greece. The country will receive a total of $145 billion in loan guarantees from the IMF and the 15 nations that compose the European Union (EU).

Since Greece, other EU countries have come forward needing loan guarantees. The IMF and the EU are now looking at a $1 trillion bailout to handle these claims, an effort in which the United States would be a participant.

Republicans contend Congress will have to borrow the money to pay its share of the bailout.

"We should not be borrowing money from the Chinese to bail out Greece, and if you connect the dots we are precariously close to doing just that," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). "We can't even afford the bailouts in America, much less the bailouts in Europe. What's next? Intergalactic bailouts?"

House Republicans have devised the European Bailout Protection Act, a bill that prohibits any funds that have been drawn by the IMF from financing a European Union bailout until all EU nations are in compliance with their debt-to-GDP-ration requirement. It also requires the Treasury secretary to oppose any IMF loans until all EU countries abide by that ratio.

Under these requirements, the United States would be prohibited from participating in the bailouts recently proposed by the EU.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Office Space: Popcorn and Mrs. Pence Shape Indiana Office

Roll Call Staff

May 19, 2010, 12 a.m.

Sitting on the desk in Rep. Mike Pence’s Longworth House Office Building space is a bright red mock rotary phone. The object sticks out as it sits beside a regular, run-of-the-mill office phone, and it is the most brightly colored object in the room. It only has one line, and only one person in the world has the phone number.

“Mrs. Pence is the only one who has the number, not anyone on the staff. She occasionally shares it with the kids, but when this phone rings, I answer it,” the Indiana Republican says with a smile.

Former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) recommended Pence get a separate family phone when he arrived in Congress in 2001.

“He said, ‘After hours when the switchboard is off, you ought to put a separate line in the office.’ This was before everybody was wearing BlackBerrys and cell phones and such,” Pence said.

Pence’s wife purchased the red phone and gave it to him as a Christmas gift during his first term. The couple had the phone installed with a line separate from the main switchboard, and to this day it is Pence’s favorite part of his office. The phone is more necessary now that Pence is chairman of the Republican Conference, a job that keeps him busier than ever.

The phone isn’t the only object in the office that can be traced back to Karen Pence. Her fingerprints are all over the Congressman’s personal office. A watercolor that she painted of a front porch in Indiana decorates one wall, while a photo she gave her husband after he was elected hangs beside it.

The photo is a view of D.C. taken from the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. The famous bronze statue of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima is in the forefront, while the Washington and Lincoln memorials glow against the backdrop of a purple sky. The Capitol Dome glistens in the distance. The photo is accompanied by the Bible verse, “Be strong and courageous and do the work.”

During his 1988 failed Congressional campaign, Pence read the book “Flags of Our Fathers” and found himself inspired by the bravery and patriotism of the Marines at Iwo Jima. When he first visited Washington during that campaign, he went straight to the memorial.

“I got off the airplane and I jumped in the cab. I told the cabbie, ‘I want you to take me to the Iwo Jima memorial,’” he says. “I wanted to see these Americans.”

The view from that hill in Arlington now holds a special place in Pence’s heart as a reminder that there is more to serving in public office than just what happens in Washington.

“I always said you had to look past men like these to see this city,” Pence says.

The verse that accompanies the photo is not the only trace of religion in Pence’s office. He keeps a tattered Bible on his desk. The pages of the red book are wrinkled with age, and the spine is taped together. Pence purchased the Bible in 1986 when he was studying at the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington. He tries to read the book every morning, and the text is peppered with his personal notations.

“Somebody once told me that a Bible worn out is a sign of a life that’s not,” Pence says. “It’s been a great source of encouragement for me.”

While Pence looks to the Bible for encouragement, he also takes inspiration from the concise family motto engraved in a gold plaque that sits on his desk: “No Flapping.” The phrase comes from a conversation Pence and his wife had as they struggled to decide whether he should make a third run for Congress in 1999. Pence had already lost two elections, and the couple wasn’t sure whether they were up for another campaign. While mulling over a run, they went horseback riding in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

“We were trying to make a decision as a family about whether to sell our house, move back home and make another run for Congress, and we saw these two red-tailed hawks coming up from the valley floor,” Pence says. He adds that the birds weren’t flapping their wings at all; instead, they were gliding through the air. As they watched the hawks, Pence’s wife told him she was onboard with a third run.

“I said, ‘If we do it, we need to do it like those hawks. We just need to spread our wings and let God lift us up where he wants to take us,’” Pence remembers. “And my wife looked at me and said, ‘That’ll be how we do it, no flapping.’ So I keep that on my desk to remember every time my wings get sore, stop flapping.”

While Pence has made his personal office into a place filled with “things that edify and encourage my sense of what’s important,” he has also tried to make the office a comfortable place for constituents to visit. To start, everyone who walks through the door is offered a bag of popcorn, the smell of which wafts into the building’s hallway.

“I never get sick of popcorn,” Pence says. “Whenever anybody comes into our office we offer them a bag of Indiana popcorn — fresh popped — something cold to drink, and we try to make them comfortable.”

In the end, Pence says there are two values that are important to any Congressional office.

“No. 1 is to practice what you preach about legislation and vote the way you tell people you’re going to vote,” he says. “And the second is hospitality.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mike Pence: 'We will not restore this nation with public policy alone'

Posted: May 14th, 2010 06:26 PM ET

Rep. Pence frequently describes himself as 'a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican - in that order.'
Rep. Pence frequently describes himself as
'a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order.'

(CNN) – Speaking to a largely conservative audience, a Republican lawmaker said Friday that the country has been experiencing a moral crisis in addition to the economic crisis that began on Wall Street in late 2008.

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana gave an impassioned address to the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pence, who frequently describes himself as "a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order," said the GOP has been down on its luck in the wake of President Obama's historic election.

But Pence claimed that, in the last year, his party had experienced a reawakening. As evidence, he cited conservative protests against the president's policies and recent Republican victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Pence said that his party lost its way on the issue of fiscal discipline during the Bush administration. But told the gun rights supporters, "My party – Republicans in Congress – we're back in the fight and we're back in the fight on the right."

Related: Speakers at NRA convention target Washington, midterms

Pence also said that fixing the country's financial problems and retaking the reins of power in Washington would not be enough to fix, what he sees, as the nation's ills.

"…A vision for a better America will also recognize that our present crisis is not merely economic and political but moral in nature.

"At the root of these times, should be a realization that people in positions of authority have walked away from the timeless truths of honesty and integrity, an honest day's work for an honest day's pay, and the simple idea that a person ought to treat the other person the way they want to be treated," Pence said.

And as he claimed that the country is headed in the wrong under the president, Pence talked about putting the country on a different track.

"We will not restore this nation with public policy alone. It will require public virtue and that emanates from our most cherished institutions: family and religion.

"To renew this nation, we must renew the institutions that strengthen her character. We must stand for the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage and the vital importance of religion in our everyday lives."

Pence also used his remarks to question whether Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan would sufficiently adhere to the Constitution. And Pence promised the conservative activists that House Republicans would not rest until they succeeded in repealing the recently enacted health care bill.Mike Pence:

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Mike Pence introduces legislation halting U.S. involvement in IMF aid.
Pence introduces legislation halting U.S. involvement in IMF aid. AP

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the third-ranking House Republican and a possible 2012 presidential candidate, will use a speech Friday before the National Rifle Association to highlight his opposition to using American tax dollars to bail out European countries.

Seizing on conservative anger toward the federal government’s financial assistance for U.S. banks and auto companies and the recent headlines about Greece’s economic woes, Pence and a group of other House Republicans have introduced symbolic legislation that would halt American involvement in any International Monetary Fund aid to European Union nations.

“I just don’t believe American taxpayers should be forced to bear the risk of nations that have avoided making tough choices,” Pence said in an interview previewing his remarks to the gun-rights group’s convention in Charlotte.

There is little the U.S., as only one member of the IMF, can do to stop the bail out of Greece.

But by drawing attention to the matter, Pence touches upon two conservative hot-buttons: anger over corporate bailouts and a fear that the U.S. is on a path toward a European-style economy and political system.

The five-term Indiana congressman doesn’t spare his own party, though.

“I think the American people are tired of the borrowing and spending and bailouts that characterized federal policy under both political parties,” Pence said, alluding to the Bush administration’s TARP and Obama’s aid to Wall Street and Detroit.

Not coincidentally, Pence opposed TARP when it came to the House floor in the fall of 2008 —– a stance that could provide some daylight between him and other GOP presidential hopefuls who supported the measure such as Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who also just happens to be speaking at the NRA convention, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Asked why he would discuss fiscal issues before a group of firearms enthusiasts, Pence said NRA members are mostly a conservative bunch who “believe in first principles.”

In an interview with Bloomberg's Al Hunt, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took issue with the effort by Pence and House Republicans to block the IMF's aid to EU countries.

“We have a big stake in helping Europe manage through these things,” Geithner said. “We’re going to do it in a way that’s sensible for the American economy, the American taxpayer.”

Read more:


Friday, May 14, 2010


By Reid Wilson

House GOP Conference chair Mike Pence
will urge gun rights activists to
make a strong push to help his party
take back the House while abandoning
Dems who have helped curb gun control
legislation favored by liberals in

In a speech he will give today in
Charlotte, at the NRA's annual convention,
Pence said he will encourage the NRA to
back his partyrather than pro-gun Dems.

"The NRA has a history of supporting
candidates in both political parties who
support gun rights, and I respect that,
but I do believe we have a historic
opportunity to elect a conservative
majority to Capitol Hill," Pence told
Hotline OnCall in an interview yesterday.
"I'm going to be challenging people at the
NRA to seize that opportunity, to get
behind men and women across this country
who are committed to constitutional

The NRA endorsed most of the GOP
Conference during the '08 election, but
they also have a long history of
supporting Dems. The group backed 52 House
Dem incumbents in '08.

Pence, who has made several high-profile
appearances at conservative events across
the country, will also voice his opposition
to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, thanks
to reports yesterday that Kagan did not
support repealing a DC gun ban. And as some
in conservative circles think Pence is
contemplating a WH'12 bid, he will stoke the
flames by laying out the outline of a platform.

Lately, Pence has led the GOP charge against
allowing US money contributed to the IMF
assist in bailing out Greece. Greece's troubled
economy has caused stock market shudders around
the world, Pence acknowledged, but he said
Greeks should take steps to get their fiscal
house in order.

"I simply believe it's wrong to put Americans
on the hook for billions for dollars of loan
guarantees to countries that have embraced
economic policies and fiscal practices that
have brought them to fiscal crises," Pence said.
"The U.S. isn't asking Europe for help with New
Jersey or California."

Pence would not preview his remarks on gun
rights, but though gun rights advocates have
been nervous about the Obama admin, no significant
legislation has come to the floor. A possible deal
to give DC a vote in the House fell apart when
Dems refused to allow a provision that would
expand gun rights in the nation's capital.

Pence isn't the only potential WH'12 contender
who will address NRA delegates this weekend in
Charlotte. Ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), MS Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
and ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) are all set to
speak today and tomorrow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Washington, DC - U.S. Congressman Mike Pence
today introduced legislation to stop U.S. tax
dollars from being used by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailouts of European
countries. Rep. Pence released the following
statement as the European Bailout Protection
Act was introduced:

“Hoosiers are fed up with taxpayer-funded
bailouts and deserve to know we are bailing
out Greece and possibly other European
countries. If the Obama Administration has
its way, the U.S. will contribute to a nearly
trillion dollar bailout of European countries
with economic crises that are a direct result
of wasteful government spending.

“This legislation would require that countries
like Greece cut spending and put their own
fiscal house in order, instead of looking to
the United States for a bailout. We face
record unemployment and a debt crisis of our
own, and taxpayers should not be forced to bear
the risk for nations that have avoided making
tough choices.”


The European Bailout Protection Act would:

1) Prohibit any funds that have yet to be drawn
by the IMF from being used to
provide financing to any EU countries until all
EU nations are in compliance with the debt to GDP
ratio requirement in their own collective growth

2) Require the Treasury Secretary to oppose any
IMF loans to EU nations until all EU countries
are in compliance with their debt to GDP ratio

The bill does not permanently prohibit the IMF
from lending to these nations; it simply prohibits
the U.S. from participating in the proposed
European bailout.

The Weekly Standard: Mike Pence and Servant Leadership

Congress has a black eye, and it's starting to swell.
As an institution, its approval ratings bounce near
all time lows, creating a crisis in confidence among
voters. Can Americans count on an institution so
anemic in trust to heal the difficult and major
problems confronting the nation?

Many believe the legislative branch is insular,
arrogant, and dominated by special interests -- and
not without cause.

The current Democratic majority's polarizing behavior
has only reinforced these views by passing partisan
and controversial legislation -- like the health care
bill -- opposed by a majority of Americans, according
to the most recent average of polls aggregated at Real
Clear Politics.

The House and Senate will never win popularity contests.
Congress underperforms other institutions when it comes
to stirring good feelings. Analyzing polling data from
the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, political scientists
John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse in their
book Congress as Public Enemy: Public Attitudes Toward
American Political Institutions show the legislature
nearly always lags the presidency and the Supreme Court
when it comes to public confidence.

This pattern continues today. President Obama's approval
now hovers around the 48 percent mark, but Congress's is
only half that (23 percent), according to Real Clear

Historically, incumbent lawmakers took comfort in the
often cited argument by University of Rochester political
scientist Richard Fenno, who asked in a 1975 article,
"If Congress Is The 'Broken Branch' Why Do Americans Love
their Congressmen So Much?" Fenno demonstrated Americans
support their congressmen more than Congress as an

But today even this customary love for incumbents is on
the rocks. A recent CNN poll found the percent of
Americans who think their own Congressman deserves
reelection is at an all time low.

Not letting congressional approval sink too low is
critical for the country and our ability to address
future problems. If support falls much further,
faith in the legitimacy of the entire system could

Is there an answer?

Some lawmakers propose a novel solution, one that
flies in the face of conventional power perceptions
about Washington politicians. Borrowing from the
tradition of "servant leadership," this approach
holds some promise for boosting Congress's sagging

Throughout the centuries this idea has animated
discussions of how to lead. Many say a 1970 essay
by Robert K. Greenleaf, "The Servant as Leader,"
first applied the idea to the management of large

But until recently, the notion of "servant leadership"
seemed foreign to Congress. Politicians are
cold-blooded narcissists, not other-directed
helpers. Candidates promote themselves - not us.
They accumulate power and cut deals. That's how they
get elected.

The perception of Congress as self-seeking, self-
interested, and self-promoting shakes voters'
confidence in the institution.

Some House Republican members want to change that
opinion. Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio
meets with his staff annually to hammer out
a set of goals and objectives for the year. They
produce a detailed vision statement that guides
their work as a team for the legislative session.

This year they added the goal of "servant leadership"
as an objective. Boehner and his staff urged all
House Republicans to adopt this model as an approach
to working with their constituents and colleagues in
Congress. It's an attitudinal shift with major
political consequences.

Dave Schnittger, Boehner's deputy chief of staff for
communications told me this in an email last week:
"Servant leadership is the antithesis of the arrogance
Americans have seen from a Democratic-controlled
Washington that has repeatedly defied the will of the
people on the biggest issues facing our country,"
Schnittger wrote. "It requires humility; a willingness
to listen; and recognition that the American people are
the ones in charge. Americans have a right to expect
their elected leaders to project this kind of attitude.
And this year they're demanding it."

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the House
Republican Conference agrees. Walking into the offices
of the GOP Conference in the Longworth House Office
Building, the words "servant leadership" appear on the
wall as part of the House Republicans' core objectives.

Boehner and Pence are on to something. Voters want a
Congress that works for the people, not just for
political elites. Yet the lexicon of Washington
doesn't put lawmakers in that role. The crafting of
legislation includes powerbrokers, influence peddlers
and self-interested politicians, not servant leaders.

Hearing lawmakers talk about this new vision is
simultaneously jarring, refreshing and healing --
an ice-pack on the inflammation of public discontent.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dan Coats Wins GOP Senate Nomination

Updated: Tuesday, 04 May 2010, 10:14 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 04 May 2010, 7:14 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) - Former Indiana senator Dan Coats has won the GOP Senate nomination. Coats shot to an early lead on election night and held on to beat opponents Marlin Stutzman and John Hostettler.

The newly nominated Republican candidate had his son Andrew introduce him as he began the celebration at the downtown Indianapolis Marriott.

Saying, "Thank you, Indiana, for your strong support," Coats stressed his conservatism and his strong Hoosier values. He then began attacking President Obama.

Coats said the choices between himself and representative Brad Ellsworth, the Democratic nominee, are clear. He said it's time to stop the spending in Washington and the hard left the government is taking. He attacked Ellsworth's support of the recently-passed health care bill.

Coats intends to hit the road campaigning immediately. He's heading to Evansville Wednesday morning right into the heart of Brad Ellsworth territory.

Coats has been under fire from conservatives for his years as a Washington lobbyist and for a vote in favor of a gun control law when he was in the Senate.

He only won about 40 percent of the vote with 71 percent of precincts reporting, signaling a divide in the GOP between mainstream Republicans and more conservative tea party voters who split their votes between Hostettler and Stutzman.

That divide could be an issue in November when Coats will Ellsworth, a conservative Democrat who will be formally nominated by the Democratic central committee May 15.

"Ellsworth has enough conservative credentials to cut into some of the Republican base," said Brian Vargus, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

"It is completely possible that those people who are disaffected from the party -- the so-called tea party voters -- vote Libertarian or stay home."

Coats, backed by national GOP leaders during the primary, hopes to convince tea party voters that he echoes their concerns about where the country is headed under Democratic leadership.

"We're going to be singing off the same song sheet between now and November," said Coats spokesman Pete Seat.

Coats may also portray Ellsworth as a Washington insider, even though Coats himself has plenty of experience inside the beltway.

Coats won a special election in 1990 to serve the remainder of Dan Quayle's term after Quayle became vice president in 1989.

Coats' name was last on an Indiana ballot in 1992, when he made a successful bid for a full Senate term.

But he decided not to run for re-election in 1998, when Bayh made his first run for the seat. Coats has since been an ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush and worked as a lobbyist in Washington.

Democrats have been attacking Coats even before he won Tuesday's primary.

The chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party chided Coats for missing a deadline to file a personal financial disclosure report, saying he should know better because of his experience as a former senator. Once Coats filed the form, Democrats criticized him for being an "elite D.C. lobbyist" and questioned whether he would represent Indiana residents or special interest groups.