Rep. Pence: 'H.R. 1 Was A Compromise'

April 01, 2011 3:08 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Shortly before the midterm elections, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said that House Republicans shouldn't worry about reaching across the aisle if they won the majority. "If I didn't make myself clear, no compromise," Pence declared. "We didn't come this far to ... seek consensus with the political liberal elite in Washington."

However, with Republicans scrambling to avoid blame for a government shutdown if they fail to reach a budget deal with the Senate and the White House, Pence's thoughts on compromise appear to be evolving. During an interview on MSNBC today, Pence argued that Republicans already compromised when they passed H.R. 1, the appropriations bill with $61 billion in controversial cuts that even some Republicans think are "irresponsible":

CONTESSA BREWER: You have a lot of experience in the ways of Washington. You know that to get things done, especially in a split Congress here, it takes compromise and it takes negotiation. I know they're dirty words now, but I mean, unless you're a dictator you've got to find common ground. Is that in the future?

PENCE: Well, you know, I expect we are going to find a way forward, but House Republicans believe that H.R. 1, with 61 billion dollars in budget cuts that respects our treasury, respects our values, was a compromise. We had more than 90 hours of debate, many amendments passed on a bipartisan basis. And when you're looking at a 1.65 trillion-dollar deficit this year alone, it's hard to say you're slashing 61 billion dollars, that feels a little bit more to the American people like a paper cut, but it's a start. It's a small step in the direction of fiscal discipline and we think it's worth fighting for.


H.R. 1 would completely defund Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act, undermine border security and American interests abroad, and, according to most economists, result in hundreds of thousands of job losses. Moreover, many of the cuts would actually increase spending. And barely "one-half of one-third of the government" — to borrow a phrase from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) — has agreed to this plan.

"H.R. 1 was a compromise"? Pence should probably go back to the drawing board.